Observing Relations Between Traditional and Modern Medicine

Salter, Samantha
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Can traditional rituals and remedies survive in the face of western health service expansion? The struggle between traditional and western medicinal methods is one known across the globe. Many traditional rituals have dwindled and some have disappeared entirely with western health development programs. Additionally, modern health programs continue to fail in many regions of the world. However, some communities have been able to hold onto their traditional rituals, while still utilizing modern health services. This is the case for the Kedougou region in western Senegal. World Vision, an international development and humanitarian organization has been established in Senegal for the past 30 years. Among their development projects are several health clinics throughout the country, including in Kedougou. Through in-depth interviews and interpersonal communication observation, I seek to establish the source of collaboration between World Vision and traditional health practitioners in this particular community. Development agencies have a history of ignoring cultural differences and community involvement. As anthropologists, we understand how important these two concepts are, especially in development efforts. Through my research, I hope to gain insight into how World Vision is navigating the complex routes of culture and community in Kedougou, Senegal.