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Dickinson College

Publication Date

Summer 2013

Program Name

Madagascar: Traditional Medicine and Health Care Systems


This paper explores the intersection between culture and health. The similarities and differences between methods for preventative medicine employed by traditional and allopathic systems are discussed. These ostensibly disparate systems, in reality, display many parallels in regards to their delivery. The effects of industrial progress, and therefore cultural change, on the health of the inhabitants of rapidly urbanizing African cities are examined. Historical information from studies of Great Britain, the first area to undergo a full industrial revolution is also drawn on. These analyses essentially predict the societal issues that come with urbanization, such as the amalgamation of preexisting pollutants (i.e. human waste) with new problems that accompany industrialization, like the contamination of air and water from chemical waste. At the same time, these studies suggest solutions based on what proved effective in the past. Discussions on the threat of increased sexually transmitted infection rates due to urbanization, as well as the dangers of poor water quality and time increases between the production and consumption of food are undertaken. Finally specific discussions of malaria, filtering into a discussion of culture as a tool for imparting healthy living habits on a population are done.


Community-Based Research | Family, Life Course, and Society | Medicine and Health | Public Health | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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