By Stephen Frankel, Gilbert Lewis
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Extra resources for A Continuing Trial of Treatment: Medical Pluralism in Papua New Guinea
The attitudes of the Kove described by Chowning are quite different Christianity has had little impact on their ideas about illness or its treatment; they have a reputation for cultural conservatism combined with a willingness to try out new remedies; they refused to have local government councils until 1977, yet some of them have travelled widely and they do a lot of trade; there is no simple correlation between education, or time spent away from Kove, and rejection of traditional beliefs. The Kaliai, like the Kove also from New Britain, use treatments that stem from their own assumptions about the causes of illness; they do this pragmatically after finding Western medicine, if it was available, to have been no help.
Then they started to die. The adults took perhaps a week. The small children, the ones whose hands you hold and walk around; one- INFECTION, INNOVATION AND RESIDENCE 43 two, and they went. Not everyone died at once. At first a few. They wrapped them in black-palm sheaths and took them to the streams. Some they put in the trees. This kept on, and on. It couldn't stop of its own accord. It kept going. Everyone ran away from the village. Into the small places. Into the bush. Then he felt sorry. Bwasale, himself, went to Nipkimbihi.
Why did people accept pills and injections from strangers? How much was it because they felt they could not refuse in front of the power and authority of the strangers? Or was it curiosity? Fear? Trust? Experiment? Or because the benefits were obvious? Local people might hide or run away to avoid treatment they 28 STEPHEN FRANKEL AND GILBERT LEWIS disliked; they might keep silent, accept the pills but throw them away in private. In time people changed how they saw the limits of white people's authority, and what they might be able to refuse or demand.
A Continuing Trial of Treatment: Medical Pluralism in Papua New Guinea by Stephen Frankel, Gilbert Lewis