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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Traditional medicine, biomedicine and Christianity in modern Zambia
Author:Sugishita, KaoriISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:traditional medicine
health care
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/E0001972009000904
Abstract:The World Health Organization has recognized 'traditional medicine' as a de facto and economical substitute for biomedicine in the developing world. Accordingly, the Zambian government aims to integrate 'traditional healers', locally known as 'ng'anga', with their biomedical counterparts in a national health care system. Hence, on the one hand, 'ng'anga' elaborate their practice into 'herbalism', which could meet scientific standards and fit into the scope of biomedicine. On the other hand, they continue to deal with affliction by positing the existence of occult agents, such as witchcraft and spirits, at the risk of being criticized for exploiting indigenous beliefs. As a result, many 'ng'anga' associate themselves with Christianity, the national religion of Zambia, which serves as an official domain of the occult where they take refuge from biomedical rationalization. However, conventional churches, the government and health authorities do not approve of the link between Christianity and traditional medicine; hence 'ng'anga' as traditional healers are marginalized in modern, Christian Zambia. Being thus dissociated from the national religion, 'ng'anga' are officially confined to the periphery of national health care, where they submit to the primacy of biomedicine and the workings of State power. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]