Articles

Talking the illness: Swahili for medical aid and cooperation in Turin


Abstract


The article presents and discusses the results of a pilot course aiming at teaching Swahili grammar and lexicon as well as cultural awareness in the field of health to a group of medical personnel doing voluntary work in medical cooperation in East Africa. The different conceptions of illness and cure in traditional African and allopathic (Western) medicine are analyzed and discussed (sections 2 and 3). Notwithstanding the government policies advocating a better integration between African traditional medicine and biomedicine, the communicative problems on the field keep being a real challenge, and special attention was therefore given to the communication between doctor and patient. The use of Swahili in patient reports (section 4) and a modicum of language knowledge on the part of the volunteers can make a difference if coupled with some awareness of local cultures. As an output to the course (section 5), four bilingual English-Swahili patient reports were produced (personal and family’s physiological and patient’s pathological report, as well as a specialized patient report for language and communication disorders). They have, albeit partially, been tested on the field (section 6).

Keywords

Swahili; global health; African traditional medicine; medical aid; cooperation

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13135/1825-263X/2933

References


Adams, Lisa V. et al. 2016. The future of global health education: training for equity in global health. BMC Medical Education 16: 296.

Ahlberg, Beth Maina. 2017. Integrated Health Care Systems and Indigenous Medicine: Reflections from the Sub-Sahara African Region. Frontiers in Sociology 2: 1-10.

Akerele, Olayiwola. 1991. Registration and Utilisation of Herbal Remedies in Some Countries of East, Central and Southern Africa. In Tanzania Ministry of Health (ed.), Proceedings of International Conference on Traditional Medicinal Plants. Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam University Press: 3-8.

Aluoch, Joseph Amolo et al. 1991. A Report on the Development of a Traditional Medicine for Bronchial Asthma. In Tanzania Ministry of Health (ed.), Proceedings of International Conference on Traditional Medicinal Plants. Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam University Press: 9-11.

Amutabi, Maurice Nyamanga. 2008. Recuperating Traditional Pharmacology and Healing among the Abaluyia of Western Kenya. In Toyin Falola and Matthew M. Heaton (eds.), Health Knowledge and Belief Systems in Africa. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic: 149-170.

Beukelman, David R. 1991. Magic and Cost of Communicative Competence. Augmentative and Alternative Communication 7/1: 2-10.

Chilosi, Annamaria et al. 2014. Disprassia verbale evolutiva: inquadramento clinic e diagnosi differenziale con il disturbo fonologico. In: I disturbi del linguaggio: caratteristiche, valutazione, trattamento, edited by Luigi Marotta and Maria Cristina Caselli, 145-162. Trento: Erikson.

Fantauzzi, Annamaria. 2010. Il rapporto medico-paziente immigrato. (In)comprensione e pratiche di mediazione linguistica e culturale. Tendenze nuove 1: 29-42.

Feierman, Steven. 1981. Therapy as a System-in-Action in Northeastern Tanzania. Social Sciences & Medicine 15B: 353-360.

Feierman, Steven. 1985. Struggles for Control: The Social Roots of Health and Healing in Modern Africa. African Studies Review 28/2-3: 73-147.

Gessler, Monika C. et al. 1995. Traditional healers in Tanzania: the perception of malaria and its causes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 48: 119-130.

Kirkeby, Willy A. 2000. English Swahili Dictionary. Dar es Salaam: Kakepela Publishing Company.

Knappert, Jan. 1972. An Anthology of Swahili Love Poetry. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Knappert, Jan. 1997. Swahili Proverbs. Ndanda: Ndanda Mission Press.

Kraska-Szlenk, Iwona. 2014. Extending Body-Part Terms in the Domain of Emotions. In: The Body in Language. Comparative Studies of Linguistic Embodiment, edited by Matthias Brenzinger and Iwona Kraska-Szlenk, 52-70. Leiden: Brill.

Langwick, Stacey A. 2011. Bodies, Politics and African Healing. The Matter of Maladies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Larson, Kjersti. 2008. Where Humans and Spirits Meet. The Politics and Identified Spirits in Zanzibar. New York and Oxford: Berhahn.

Mahunnah, Rogasian L. A. and E. N. Mshiu. 1991. Ethnobotany and Conservation of Medicinal Plants. In Proceedings of International Conference on Traditional Medicinal Plants, edited by the Tanzania Ministry of Health, 83-86. Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam University Press.

Marazzi, Maria Cristina C. 2007. How’s your health? / Je! Waijua afya yako? Southfield, MI: Leonardo International (Community of S. Egidio).

Mayo, Alexa. 2014. Improving medical education in Kenya: an international collaboration. Journal of the Medical Library Association 102/2: 96-100.

Mazzetti, Marco. 2005. Il dialogo transculturale. Roma: Carocci.

Mutembei, Aldin K. 2015. HIV/AIDS in Kiswahili and English Literary Works. In Habari ya English? What about Kiswahili? East Africa as a Literary and Linguistic Contact Zone, edited by Lutz Diegner and Frank Schulze-Engler, 185-205. Leiden: Brill.

Nsimba, Stephen F. D. and Edmund J. Kayombo 2008. Sociocultural Barriers and Malaria Health Care in Tanzania. Evaluation & The Health Professions 31/3: 318-322.

Ross, Eleanor. 2008. Traditional Healing in South Africa. Social Work in Health Care 46/2: 15-33.

Sklar, David P. 2016. Global Health Education in a Changing World: The Next New Conversations Topic. Academic Medicine 91/5: 603-606.

Talento, Serena. 2014. What Hands/Arms Can Say: A Corpus-Based Analysis of the Swahili Body-Part Trems Mkono and Mikono. In: The Body in Language. Comparative Studies of Linguistic Embodiment, edited by Matthias Brenzinger and Iwona Kraska-Szlenk, 260-283. Leiden: Brill.

Tosco, Mauro. 2008. Introduction: Ausbau is everywhere! In: “Ausbau and Abstand Languages: Traditional and New Approaches”. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 191: 1-16.

Waane, Simon Alcuin Cornello. 1991. The use of Traditional Medicinal Plants: The Cultural Context. In Proceedings of International Conference on Traditional Medicinal Plants, edited by the Tanzania Ministry of Health, 209-215. Dar es Salaam: Dar es Salaam University Press.

Werner, David et al. 1992. Where there is no doctor. London and Basingstoke: MacMillan. First edition (1977) translated in Swahili as Mahali pasipo na daktari. Kitabu cha mafunzo ya afya vijijini (second edition 1984). Dar es Salaam: Rotary International.

WHO (World Health Organization). 1978. The promotion and development of traditional medicine. Geneva: WHO Technical Report Series 622.

WHO (World Health Organization). 2000a. General Guidelines for Methodologies on Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine. Geneva: WHO.

WHO (World Health Organization). 2000b. Promoting the Role of Traditional Medicine in Health Systems: a Strategy for the African Region 2001-2010. Harare: WHO.

Winch, Peter J. et al. 1996. Local Terminology for Febrile Illnesses in Bagamoyo District, Tanzania and its Impact on the Design of a Community-Based Malaria Control Programme. Social Science & Medicine 42/7: 1057-67.


Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN: 1825-263X

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.