A history of Chitokoloki mission hospital in Zambezi district of the North-Western province of Zambia, 1914-2014.

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Muombo, Oggy Kelvin
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The University of Zambia
The central theme of this study is to reconstruct the history of Chitokoloki Mission Hospital in Zambezi District of the North-Western Province and determine its significance in the history of mission hospitals in Zambia. While the Zambian medical history has tended to focus on the role of Western medicine in the health of Africans to the exclusion of the institutions where medicine was administered, this study sought to contribute to the appreciation of the history of missionary medical institutions in Zambia. When Chitokoloki Mission was established in 1914, the hospital started as a dispensary constructed to meet the healthcare needs of the local people but later on became the pinnacle of medical services in Zambezi District and the peripherals. The study argues that the Mission’s agenda, from its inception, was to use the hospital as a tool for converting Africans to Christianity. However, this proved ineffective due to Africans resistance to completely obliterate cultural herbal remedy practices. It was further established that contrary to the academic conspiracy and common trend by a section of scholars who portrayed Africans as mere recipients of mission medical activities, this study contended that Africans played a crucial role in the development of the hospital. For instance, Africans worked as dressers (untrained nurses), orderlies, post office managers, clinical officers, transporters and some even took high ranking administrative positions. Socially, the hospital impacted on the lives of the people of Zambezi District and beyond through the treatment of various ailments. The study also established that Africans continued taking traditional therapies even within the confines of the hospital despite warnings from medical personnel. Furthermore, the study established that the Mission’s challenges, among many others were the age-old conflict between the scientific practice of medicine and the cultural beliefs in herbal remedies, loss of human resource due to accidents, poor communication and road network and overcrowding of patients in the hospital wards. The study concluded that the development and sustenance of Chitokoloki Mission Hospital was an outcome of cooperation among stakeholders such as the local people, Brethren, Faith-Based Organisations and successive Zambian governments. The longstanding contest between traditional therapies and Western medicine at Chitokoloki could be understood from the context that Africans were not willing to abandon their cultural healing practices despite the missionaries’ hegemonic influence.
Missions--Zambia--History. , Missions--Anthropological aspects--Zambia. , Zambia--Church history.