Date of Award
Master of Arts
Djindji, Senegal is a community that has been seeking to increase its access to Western medicine. Within the last fifteen years, the region's namesake and largest town, Kedougou, has grown significantly due to an increase in gold mining. The town's growth spurred increased access to Western medicines and is now home to two hospitals, multiple pharmacies, and multiple NGOs including the Evangelical Christian organization, World Vision, who aims to improve health standards. Despite the increased access to Western medicine in Kedougou, locals have not abandoned their indigenous practices. Religious protective amulets known as gris-gris are still commonly used to protect children’s health while traditional medicine, such as plants and herbs, are more commonly used by elderly or those who cannot obtain Western medicine. In this thesis, I argue that the emphasis which people of Djindji place on naturalistic and spiritual etiology systems enables the community to more easily adopt Western medical practices, yet their inability to fully engage with the Western health system due to lack of access to facilities and medications has yielded only marginal improvements in community health. Because of this lack of access, the community continues to rely on indigenous medicine to improve the health of their people. This research has demonstrated that continued use of gris-gris allows for parents to feel a sense of control over the uncontrollable aspects of child health, and that traditional healing remains despite increased competition with highly requested Western medicine.
Moriah Rose Morgan
Morgan, Moriah Rose, "A comparison of child and adult health: Traditional vs. Western medicine and the application of Gris-Gris" (2018). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 16422.