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Title: Evolution of Biomedicine in Kenya
Other Titles: The Challenge of a Changing Disease Pattern
Authors: Khwa–Otsyula Barasa Otsyula
Keywords: Evolution, Biomedicine, Kenya, Changing Disease Pattern
Issue Date: 6-Jun-2012
Publisher: Moi University
Abstract: Medicine is the science and art dealing with maintenance of health and prevention, alleviation or cure of disease. Whereas the scientific aspect may appear obvious, the art is not always fully appreciated by both practitioners and the public. The 1948 definition of health is visionary but is not attainable prompting the current discussions on what health is. Disease is impairment of normal function of any part of the body whose effects is ultimately felt by the entire human being irrespective of its origin. Traditional medicine, based on cultural values that tied practitioners and patients together, had served the people of Kenya well prior to 1885. However, it suffered a major setback because the colonial administration lacked ability to distinguish between traditional medicine from witchcraft and the superior results from biomedicine. Biomedicine was introduced to support economic development of the colony. However, the policy changed in the 1920s to extend the health care delivery system to the Africans. The resulting eradication and control of some diseases together with improved diagnostic ability led to a change in disease pattern promoting the ongoing discussion on emergence of new diseases. The apparent increase in some diseases to epidemic proportions is a misrepresentation of the situation, since there is evidence that most of these diseases have always been here. The features of the colonial Health care delivery system still occupy a central position in the health sector today. Attainment of Health Sector objectives in the next twenty years as outlined in Vision 2030 will depend on avoiding the pitfalls that hindered the achievement of similar strategies in the past; performance of economic and political pillars; and a clear understanding of the current health status and risk factors in Kenya
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