What is it about?

This editorial to the first ever special issue on medical and health humanities (MHH) in Africa provides insight into how the field has been growing in parts of the continent. It offers glimpses into some of the exciting research, teaching, creative arts, and activist responses to health care that are taking place and improving what we say, think, write, create, and do about health related concerns and challenges.

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Why is it important?

Disciplinary knowledge and skill is important in addressing or understanding health care provision, health concerns or wellness. Unfortunately, only working in a particular disciplinary silo means that the full complexity of health and wellness may not be appreciated or shared. Providing new ways for people seeking or maintaining health, providing health care, teaching health care practitioners, organising around health, or creating art related to wellness, to work together can change this. Working collectively and collaboratively allows new, more nuanced, insights and responses to health to be formulated - and that is good for everyone's well-being!


As a health historian it is often frustrating to see hierarchies of power and privilege repeated in varying degrees through multiple health concerns - and even more frustrating to see groups of people with ideas and knowledge about health not speaking to each other. The field of medical and health humanities (MHH) provides us with a chance to do things differently and encourage epistemic generosity so we can create new ways of bringing the creative arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences in conversation with each other and with activists and practitioners.

Assoc. Prof. Carla Tsampiras
University of Cape Town

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Inclusion, access and social justice: the rhizomic evolution of a field across a continent, Medical Humanities, November 2018, BMJ,
DOI: 10.1136/medhum-2018-011613.
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