In the last two decades, the implosion of African
economies under the burden of debt, the negative repercussions of the
structural adjustment programs, the crisis of legitimacy, civil wars,
and the collapse of some states resulted in a serious health crisis
across the continent. Newly emerging diseases, such as Ebola virus
and HIV/AIDS, killed and disabled millions. Some "old diseases," such
as yellow fever, tuberculosis, and polio, have reappeared. Malaria,
cholera, and meningitis continue to kill thousands. In many countries,
the medical infrastructure has collapsed, while an increasing number
of physicians and nurses have migrated to more hospitable places. Stigmatization
of the affected people has compounded on previous social and racial
discrimination, and has affected the implementation of national and
international public health programs.
This workshop examines the impact of disease
on African societies, and the role played by various healing
It emphasizes the social and cultural contexts of medicine, and
is interdisciplinary, involving the fields of history, sociology,
anthropology, and biology. Of particular interest is the exploration
of how the history of the colonial public health system may shed
light on current health problems in Africa, as well as among
minorities in America.
about the Workshop in "Bryn Mawr Now"