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Hospital Management Training – Module 5

From 5-9 July 2010, Module 5 of the Hospital Management Training in Kenya was facilitated by Winny Koster.

The title of this module was Medical Anthropology and International Health Policies with a guest lecturer, Benson Mulemi, presenting ‘Ethnography of the Cancer Ward in Kenyatta Hospital’.

The majority of participants had no previous experience with anthropology and in the evaluation many called it an eye opener and highly relevant for their hospital practice as manager and health practitioner. Medical anthropology was introduced as being the study of health, ill health, health care, culture and society and the mutual relations. This field is set in the wider context of (inter)national policies and programmes. Medical anthropology studies plural medical systems, and participants identified different types of traditional healers in Kenya. A debate was conducted on whether traditional healers should be integrated in the Kenyan health system. Ill health is also studied from a doctor’s perspective (disease) and from the patient’s perspective (illness) – participants realized that these perspectives may be different and be one of the reasons for non-adherence to prescribed drugs or treatment or not coming for treatment in the hospital at all.

Overall the sessions were highly participatory, with a lot of laughs about cultural differences. The facilitator appreciated gaining a lot of culture specific information on ill health and health care in Kenya, provided in group sessions by the participants.

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