CANCELLED: Chinese Medicines in Camerounian Medical Pluralism

Chinese presence in the African health sector can be traced back to first aid programs in the 1970s including the construction and equipment of hospitals as well as the sending of Chinese medical teams to many African countries. Thus, Cameroon now counts four hospitals (in Mbalmayo, Guider, Yaoundé and Douala) built within the framework of Sino-African cooperation. Chinese medical teams have been have taken turns for over 50 years, consisting of an acupuncturist and various biomedical specialists. Nevertheless, more recently the circulation and the re-appropriation of medical knowledge, practices and products coming from China by Cameroonian doctors and therapists can be put into perspective with the works on globalisation of Chinese medicine that have shown the hybridization of knowledge and practices with other techniques, remedies and medical knowledge, giving rise to local adaptations and “globalized forms of knowledge”. The specific forms of Chinese medicine globalisation take in Cameroon can be understood with African medical pluralism as the processes of constant reinvention and borrowing occurring in increasingly competitive local medical markets, frequently in tension between so-called “traditional” and “modern”.

Based on the primary results of an ongoing four-year project called “Chinese medicine in African medical pluralism”, our intervention focuses precisely on the impact of various and heterogenous therapeutics and products coming from China in Cameroon.  Through a qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews with Cameroonian actors, we aim to question at different scales how Chinese presence in Africa participates in the process of reshaping local healers’ daily practice (micro) and Cameroonian medical pluralism (macro). We also take into account the processes of recognition and professionalisation of local healers (meso) to observe various trends of local appropriations.

ArgO-EMR Seminars Michaelmas 2022

Wednesdays at 5pm (Weeks 3, 5, 7, 8)

On Teams and also taking place in person in the Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road

Acupuncture in Practice

Convened by Elisabeth Hsu