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Clinical Reality and Illness Experience in Rural Niger

1 January 2007


Health is an issue that concerns both individuals and institutions. In the 21st century, Africa has been subject to the integration of western medicine into their society and traditional healing practices. In Niger, the health crisis is not entirely due to lack of medical personnel or facilities, but rather, a lack of understanding between western trained doctors and tribal people. The philosophical causation of illness has a dramatic impact on treatment and recovery. The western health paradigm understands biomedical pathology as the processes underlying disease and treats the patient according to scientific reason. However, in the traditional Hausa health paradigm, disease is a result of supernatural intervention or illness entities that are inherent agents inside the body that can only be treated rather than cured. Both health paradigms are deeply entrenched in the social relationships that contribute to illness and healing. My research aims to understand how Hausa tribal people experience illness and healing in a western healthcare institution.


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