Access

You are not currently logged in.

Login through your institution for access.

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Health, State and Society in Kenya

Health, State and Society in Kenya: Faces of Contact and Change

George Oduor Ndege
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 296
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt1bh2msr
Find more content in these subjects:
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Health, State and Society in Kenya
    Book Description:

    This book examines the conflicts brought on by the introduction, management and institutionalization of Western biomedicine into Kenya. From the dawn of the colonial age, there were conflicts over the issues and meanings of sickness, health and therapy. Conversations often broke down, especially during the first two decades of the twentieth century, because of the natural and strong desire on the part of local populations, the state and biomedical practitioners to protect their respective hallowed traditions, approaches and identities. However, the persistence of epidemics, spiraling mortality rates, the interdependent nature of the colonial economy, and the establishment and recommendations of Commissions of Inquiry turned the tensions of race and conflict into dialogues about accommodation and compromise. The focus on a common good, rather than upon partisan satisfaction, became a dominant force. Western biomedicine and African traditional therapies each contributed to the growth and development of colonial health care in Kenya. George Ndege is Professor of History at St. Louis University.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-605-9
    Subjects: Anthropology, Public Health, Health Sciences
    × Close Overlay

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. MAPS (pp. vii-viii)
  4. TABLES (pp. ix-x)
  5. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. ABBREVIATIONS (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. 1 INTRODUCTION (pp. 1-16)

    Historical interpretations of the nature and dynamics of health care give racial and cultural conflicts pride of place as critical factors in the introduction, management, and development of Western biomedicine in colonial Africa. Such conflicts and dichotomies present the African as overwhelmed by the colonial state, mesmerized by Western biomedicine, and humbled by European colonization. Indeed, the preexisting African traditional political, economic, and social environment faced many and varied changes brought by colonization. The previously existing political structures were restructured to accommodate the reality of the new colonial order in which the colonial state began to reign supreme.¹

    At the...

  8. 2 THE UNSETTLING CONTACT: EPIDEMICS, BIOMEDICINE, AND THE IDEOLOGY OF ORDER (pp. 17-45)

    The last three decades of the nineteenth century marked the period when biomedicine reached adulthood in the development of public sanitation, pathological discoveries, and general awareness that many tropical diseases are carried by insects and other arthropods. As biomedical science embraced, absorbed, routinized, and extended advances in biomedicine, it endeared itself to the colonial state in Kenya. Biomedicine became a critical ingredient of imperial expansion and remained integral to the colonial state’s project of institutionalizing a new political, economic, cultural, and biomedical order.¹

    The search for meanings, solutions, and compromises in addressing the critical issues of sickness, therapies, survival, and...

  9. 3 IN SEARCH OF COMPROMISE: ECONOMY, LABOR, WAR, AND RELATED EPIDEMICS (pp. 46-73)

    In colonial health care debates during the shadow-boxing era, one recurrent theme was the persistent conflict over what would be the dominant culture of health and healing in the emergent state of Kenya. Another feature was the dire need for dialogue to facilitate accommodation and compromise in order to find solutions to the myriad health and healing challenges facing the state and groups and individuals in the country. During this period, the foundation of Kenya’s colonial economy, which was to have far-reaching effects on the form and structure of health care, was laid. Participation in the colonial economy became critical...

  10. 4 CAREERS IN HEALTH AND HEALING: COMPETING VISIONS OF TRAINING AND PRACTICE (pp. 74-95)

    The making of the colonial medical profession in Kenya was conditioned by the shifting political, economic, and cultural developments in the country. The usual means toward raising an occupation to professional status, such as standardization of training and claims to a distinct and exclusive body of knowledge, evoked intense debates, which revolved around the type and quality of education for Africans, the nature of medical training for Africans, gender and culture, and the theory and practice of biomedicine as perceived by both the physician and the patient. The colonial medical profession placed its emphasis on hospitals and laboratories. It also...

  11. 5 POLITICS, INNOVATION, REFORM, AND EXPANSION (pp. 96-127)

    In the period before 1920, the colonial state operated on the premise that it was the sole authority on matters of public health. The rest of the society was projected merely as a group of passive victims or agents waiting to be told what to do or to be acted upon by the state. By the middle of the 1920s, the state opted for a combination of preventative, curative, and clinical approaches. The effectiveness of the shift and the adoption of a multifaceted approach necessitated winning the trust of the community and recognizing it as an invaluable partner in the...

  12. 6 GRAPPLING WITH CHANGE IN THE AGE OF TRANSITION AND ANXIETY: DECOLONIZATION, INDEPENDENCE, AND AIDS (pp. 128-158)

    If the interwar period was characterized by a major shift in both the working and the funding of the colonial health care system, the postwar era saw the colonial state criticized for the interwar financing of health care, which disproportionately burdened the Africans by shifting the financial responsibility of maintaining educational and health institutions and services from the central government to the local authorities. It was also argued by some colonial officials that the state was still focused on repetitive curative work, as opposed to preventative measures directed at improving African living conditions, both in the townships and the rural...

  13. 7 CONCLUSION (pp. 159-166)

    The construction and crystallization of Kenya from a polyglot collection of communities to a colonial terrain, though gradual and uneven, was brought about by a combination of force, diplomacy, and epidemics. A number of communities in Kenya caught the first glimpse of a colonial state through the prism of wars of pacification and taxation, as well as governmental inoculation and vaccination campaigns against epidemic outbreaks of bubonic plague and sleeping sickness. The campaigns against the epidemics, which were the first major tests of the colonial state’s choice of methods and monopoly of ideas, proved ineffective. At the beginning of the...

  14. NOTES (pp. 167-193)
  15. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 194-216)
  16. INDEX (pp. 217-224)