Africa - Hektoen International

Gruesome traditional medical practices in Nigeria

Ofor, Joshua Obase-Otumoyi Calabar, Nigeria   Hamar woman with scarification in Turmi, Ethiopia. 2012. Photo by Bernard Gagnon. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. Among the various traditional practices that victimize women and girls in Nigeria, female genital mutilation (FGM) is the most reprehensible. It consists of removing part or all of the sensitive female genital […]

The Sufi healers of Sudan: caring for those without care

Ahmed Elhag  Albany County, New York, United States   Fig 1. Dervishes in Omdurman, Sudan gather at the Shrine of Shiekh Hamid Nil, a 19th century Sufi Saint of the Qadriyya Sufi order. Photo by the author. Traditional medicine has been the dominant form of healthcare for much of human history. To many today, traditional […]

The man who hated hospital

Emeka Chibuikem V. Enugu State, Nigeria   Our Beautiful Life. Photo by Yusuff Suleiman. 2018. CC BY-SA 4.0. Via Wikimedia. An emergency patient was in critical condition. The staff nurse on duty moved swiftly to attend to him. Then she went to the waiting hall to meet with the patient’s family and asked them why […]

C. Louis Leipoldt: the polymath physician and literary giant

Stephen Finn South Africa   Fig 1: Afrikaans poet C. Louis Leipoldt. circa 1910. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. Looking out across a landscape of dramatic mountains and purple and orange sunsets is a small cave. Listen carefully in this desolate place in a western corner of South Africa, and you will hear in the distance […]

Origin of yellow fever

Enrique Chaves-Carballo  Kansas City, Kansas, United States   Henry R. Carter (1852-1925), Public Health Service Assistant Surgeon General and yellow fever epidemiologist. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) The origin of yellow fever has been a controversial subject since the disease appeared in the New World. William C. Gorgas, who was responsible […]

All too human: the mountain gorillas of Uganda

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig. 1. Adult female mountain gorilla   The Ugandan mountain gorilla is a member of the Hominidae family, also known as the great Apes. The extant species include: the orangutan, the eastern and western gorilla, the chimpanzee, the bonobo, and ourselves, Homo sapiens. The mountain gorilla is […]

The paradox of blood donation

Beukou Steve Limbe, South-West Cameroon Team HERO Cameroon organizing 2nd annual blood drive 2019     (Source: NGO HERO CAMEROON) Team HERO Cameroon and voluntary blood donors during blood drive 2019 (Source: NGO  HERO CAMEROON) Exchange visit at the National Blood Transfusion Service in Mauritius 2019 (Source: Association of Commonwealth University Summerschool 2019) “Please I urgently […]

Kokumo: the child will not die again

Odia Iyoha Lagos, Nigeria   The Survivor, by Barrister Chikezie Onwumere, (December 2019). Personal Collection. It was 1838 in the ancient town of Ake, the era of the Abikus. The harmattan wind blew with reckless abandon, tinting everything living and non-living along its course. The leaves turned reddish brown from green, the roofs were caked […]

Blood donation in South Sudan

Ahmed Elhag Latham, New York, United States   Red Cross in South Sudan. The item to the far right in the photograph is the country’s national instrument the “tombour” (an African lyre). The item to the left is a handcrafted piece of Sudanese art which contains calligraphy. Photograph by the author. When discussing the many […]

The mysterious Red Cross boy

Emeka Chibuikem V. Enugu State, Nigeria   Have You a Red Cross Service Flag? Poster art by Jessie Willcox Smith. 1918. Library Company of Philadelphia. Who is this Red Cross Boy? This is the question to which I could find no answer until this day. I am Alex, from the Igbo tribe in the South-East […]