Western medicine as contested knowledge

Medicine has always been a significant tool of an empire. This book focuses on the issue of the contestation of knowledge, and examines the non-Western responses to Western medicine. The decolonised states wanted Western medicine to be established with Western money, which was resisted by the WHO. The attribution of an African origin to AIDS is related to how Western scientists view the disease as epidemic and sexually threatening. Veterinary science, when applied to domestic stock, opens up fresh areas of conflict which can profoundly influence human health. Pastoral herd management was the enemy of land enclosure and efficient land use in the eyes of the colonisers. While the native Indians of the United States were marginal participants in the delivery or shaping of health care, the Navajo passively resisted Western medicine by never giving up their own religion-medicine. The book discusses the involvement of the Rockefeller Foundation in eradicating the yellow fever in Brazil and hookworm in Mexico. The imposition of Western medicine in British India picked up with plague outbreaks and enforced vaccination. The plurality of Indian medicine is addressed with respect to the non-literate folk medicine of Rajasthan in north-west India. The Japanese have been resistant to the adoption of the transplant practices of modern scientific medicine. Rumours about the way the British were dealing with plague in Hong Kong and Cape Town are discussed. Thailand had accepted Western medicine but suffered the effects of severe drug resistance to the WHO treatment of choice in malaria.

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