Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Africa

  • A conspicuous eye problem in sickness masks from Southeast Nigeria

    Peter de SmetNijmegen, Netherlands The Ibibio and Igbo peoples in southern Nigeria commemorate their deceased ancestors in masquerades, in which beautiful masks depict good ancestors, while ugly masks portray those who roam about as spirits inflicting illness and misfortune if moral laws are broken. These ugly masks may show twisted or eaten-away noses and lips,…

  • Beyond the scope

    Nathan CannonHershey, Pennsylvania, United States Hushed hum of voices. Open, dimly lit room. Slit lamps gliding, knobs turning, lenses gently flashing. Clinical officers hard at work, diagnosing, assessing, treating. “Next!” I am seated beside the attending, a retina specialist. Together, we have been seeing his patients, who have had a remarkable array of corneal transplants,…

  • Diary of a doctor

    Perpetual Enefuwa SalamiBenin City, Nigeria The following is a work of fiction. It was my first day working as a resident physician at Emis Clinic. I recall crying my eyes out the day I finally received a transfer letter. I was elated, accidentally booted my dog to the next room whilst dancing in excitement. I’d…

  • Book review: My Years with the British Red Cross

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom The Red Cross is known worldwide as a great humanitarian achievement. The charity was founded by Swiss businessman Henri Dunant, who was moved by the lack of care available to people who had been wounded in the Battle of Solferino, Italy, in 1859. His idea was to produce national societies…

  • Entomophagy: History, global food shortage, and climate change

    James L. FranklinChicago, Illinois, United States On a recent wildlife adventure to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, our group of adventurers was treated to an afternoon walk with a group of local Khoisan villagers. They were eager to show us how they were able to live off the land. Highlights of that visit included hearing…

  • Denis Parsons Burkitt

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. 7-year-old boy with Burkitt’s lymphoma involving his right mandible (A) before treatment and (B) after treatment by Burkitt.3   Aphorisms from wise medical men and women have fallen out of fashion. Because each line is to a degree debatable, one of my favorites is: Attitudes are more important…

  • Robert Koch, M.D., and the cure for sleeping sickness: ethics versus economics

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden Primum non nocere. (First, do no harm.)— Hippocrates Robert Koch, M.D., (1843–1910) started his career as a country doctor and discovered the causes of tuberculosis, anthrax, and cholera. He is considered to be, along with Louis Pasteur, the founder of the field of bacteriology. Awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology…

  • Gruesome traditional medical practices in Nigeria

    Joshua Obase-Otumoyi OforCalabar, Nigeria 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 organs including the prepuce, clitoris, and labia majora and minora. This surgery is done on girls of nearly all…

  • The Sufi healers of Sudan: Caring for those without care

    Ahmed Elhag Albany County, New York, United States Traditional medicine has been the dominant form of healthcare for much of human history. To many today, traditional medicine has been reduced to an occasional alternative to be used either in addition to or at times in place of conventional care. However, in several rural and secluded areas…

  • The navel of the world: belly buttons, innies and outies

    John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Rounded stones near Ahu Te Pito Kura on the north-eastern coast of Easter Island. Thought to symbolize the “center of the world” to the culture of the Polynesian people who first arrived at the island. 2013. Photo by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 In…