Tag Archives: Africa

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   Ugandans with their identity tags. 1907. In the activity report of the commission sent to East Africa to study sleeping sickness during the year 1906/1907 by R. Koch, M. Beck, and F. Kleine, p. 320. La Société francophone de médecine tropicale et santé internationale. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Primum non nocere. […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

The wonderful world of vaccines

Jayant Radhakrishnan Chicago, Illinois, United States   A patient with his whole body covered with smallpox lesions. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, photo by Barbara Rice. Epidemics and pandemics became an issue about 10,000 years ago when hunters and gatherers became farmers and began to live in communities. Smallpox was one of the first […]

Mitochondrial DNA: a maternal gift

Marshall Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Human haplogroup tree rooted at Mitochondrial Eve. By Wapondaponda. 2009. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 DNA is arrayed on twenty-three pairs of chromosomes in human cell nuclei. It is coiled tightly around proteins called histones that together with DNA form a chromosome. The largest chromosome carries several […]

Mary Josephine Hannan: portrait of a pioneer

Katie King Atlanta, Georgia, United States   Mary Hannan. Photograph by Cowell, Simla. Via the Wellcome Collection. Public Domain. Mary Josephine Hannan was an Irish medical pioneer, an outspoken woman with a strong sense of morality, a fervid supporter of women’s rights, and a champion of children and public health. She spent her life fighting […]