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Speaker: Fadeyi Tolulope Esther
The Centre for Maternal and Child Health at the School of Health Sciences welcomes Tolulope Esther Fadeyi to discuss her finding on biomedicine and the reimagination of local midwifery practices in colonial Lagos as part of the research seminar series.
This study analyses the role of local midwives in a British colony, a new position created within the emerging missionary interventions and colonialism.
While several works have contended that infant mortality and morbidity in British colonies owe much to ineffective and faulty mothering skills, exposure of infants to the vagaries of the weather at birth, poor hygiene, patronage of Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), the use of Agbo (herbal mixtures) without specific measure, poor nutrition, bad housing, and the bad methods of native midwives, little is known about the reinvention of Western ideas in local midwifery practices.
In order to appreciate and understand more fully how biomedicine shape the reconstruction of motherhood in Lagos, it is pertinent to examine the diverse socio-cultural and political imperatives that shaped metropolitan ideas of midwifery in Lagos between 1900-1954.
It investigates the institutionalisation of midwifery, training and integration of Yoruba women into Western system of obstetric practices. It explores how mission ideas were reimagined within an evolving African midwifery institution.
It concludes that although this period was characterised by the introduction and diffusion of Western obstetrics, it however witnessed the invention of two medical cultures which informs integrative midwifery practices today.
While it employs a historical methodology in oral interviews and archival data collection, this study adds new perspectives to the influence of medical pluralism on birth, reproduction and midwifery institutions in British colonies.
About the speaker
Tolulope Esther Fadeyi is a Researcher of History and African Studies whose research explores the history of medicine, science, maternity care in colonial Africa; reproductive health, traditional medicine, African Historiography, 19th and 20th Century Yoruba Society.
Her interest in maternity care also extends to the history of rural women and the medical dynamics that impact their patterns of pregnancy, childcare and postpartum care.
She seeks to explore the ways Yoruba people of southwest Nigeria encountered maternity care and looks beyond the notion of a conflict between traditional and Western medicine to uncover the multiple adoptions and adaptations of medical ideas in the colony.
Tolulope is a PhD Fellow of Humer Foundation for Academic Excellence at the Basel Graduate School of History in the framework of Graduate Network of African Studies and Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland.