Mission Medicine in a Decolonising Health Care System

Agogo Hospital, Ghana, 1945–1980

Pascal Schmid


Based on the case of Agogo Hospital, this article provides a historical analysis of biomedical practice in rural Ghana. Until the 1950s, this mission hospital acted to a great extent autonomously from the colonial health care system and focused on curative medicine and hospital-based care. By the end of the 1970s, Agogo Hospital had become integrated into the national health care system and worked more in consonance with current policies that aimed at community-centred, preventive, and basic health care. The article reveals some of the continuities, ruptures and leaps, contingencies and possibilities that accompanied and shaped this process of integration and alignment. It shows how medical practice in Agogo emerged out of the changing constellations of different interests, ideas, conceptions, and values.

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