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Swarthmore College

Publication Date

Spring 2020

Program Name

Senegal: Global Security and Religious Pluralism


This paper explores the usage patterns of traditional medicine and western medicine in Senegal’s urban centers of Dakar and Thiès and the factors that influence these patterns. I argue that the most influential factors in determining which medicine is used by an individual are accessibility, efficacy, and personal preference. This research was conducted in the first and third most-populated urban centers in Senegal, presenting a unique field site due to the higher concentration of western medicine in urban areas compared to rural areas in Senegal. Qualitative methodology was used through the form of secondary sources and semi-structured interviews which allowed for a thematic analysis of the findings. The findings regarding accessibility, efficacy, and personal preference reflect much of what was found in previous studies done in the rural village of Djindji (Kedougou region) and the urban center of St. Louis, while also presenting differences such as an emphasis on the issue of overdosage in traditional medicine. Future studies on this topic may include researching the impact of limited western health infrastructure as well as the role of religion in traditional medicine.


African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Health Communication | Medicine and Health | Medicine and Health Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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