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Private Biomedical Practice in Black Africa before the French Colonial Occupation

Volume 6, Issue 5, October 2022    |    PP. 322-346    |PDF (304 K)|    Pub. Date: October 3, 2022
DOI: 10.54647/sociology84906    14 Downloads     261 Views  

Author(s)
Natéwindé Sawadogo, Institut Universitaire de Formations Initiale et Continue, Université Thomas SANKARA, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Abstract
African medical historians have tended to focus their interest on colonial state organized medicine, at the expense of colonial private provision of medical services. This situation opens up the need for exploring the private practice as a contribution not only to shedding new light on the official account of French colonial medical assistance in Africa, but also to understanding the current challenges of health systems in former French colonies. In France, the movement for the occupational control of labor of professionalism in the area of health began in early nineteenth century, and was authorized around the end of the same century. This process could not ignore medical practice outside France, from the time of overseas territories up to the colonial occupation at the end of the nineteenth century. It is known from travelers’ accounts, the literature on the French empire as well as from some incidental mentions in historical accounts on the development of health system in French overseas, that private practice initiated French medicine overseas, and that it was lucrative. It is also known that competition between different occupational groups for status in the area of health was fierce in France until the end of the nineteenth century, and even beyond. Surprisingly, archives on private medical practice in French African colonies are virtually unavailable. African medical historians have therefore tended to focus their interest on the colonial state organized medicine about which archives have been made available. As for sociologists and anthropologists, they have remained largely silent about the topic. This paper sets out to explore, through the scanty available archives and secondary data, the situation of private medical practice in French African overseas at the end of the nineteenth century, when African territories fell under French colonial domination. This understanding, which draws on eliasian figuration analysis, is relevant for a better appreciation of the development of private medical practice during the following sixty years of colonial occupation, and even beyond.

Keywords
French territories; Western Africa; medicine; private practice; colonial medicine

Cite this paper
Natéwindé Sawadogo, Private Biomedical Practice in Black Africa before the French Colonial Occupation, SCIREA Journal of Sociology. Vol. 6 , No. 5 , 2022 , pp. 322 - 346 . https://doi.org/10.54647/sociology84906

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