The panel proposes to gather and compare research experiences conducting to contrast or to evaluate local knowledge efficacies in the largest sense in African health contexts, focusing in the social sciences contribution. A panel of SACUDA-GESA (Health, Culture and Development in Africa)
The meagre achievements of development policies in Africa and the limited investment expectancies have provoked that many international development agencies (WB, UNESCO, WHO…) come to include Local Knowledge (LK) in their programmes, with the following challenges epistemological (holism versus science) and political (community versus civil society) challenges. The paradox lies in the fact that apparently this "epistemological impurity" is also its source of resilience and adaptability, because LK connect very distinct "technological instances". Then, the activation of Local Knowledge in development contexts requires an associated research focused reconciliatory methodologies and participative scenarios. This second aspect requires a reformulation of the relation between urban and rural spheres, because LK often achieves it maximum coherence and effectivity in this last context, usually considered as "backward" and guide needing. So, the country could be not just an "space to be modernized", but a "technology reservoir". Maybe healh is the field where this research betting arouses more expectations and fears at the same time, given the importance that all societies attached to it, and the rigor of the control on diagnostic and therapies that modern society intends to apply to it. The panel proposes to gather and compare research experiences conducting to contrast or to evaluate local knowledge efficacies in the largest sense (from traditional pharmacopeia to community health or sociotherapy) in African health contexts, in order to extract lessons to improve both the national health service and the international health cooperation; the panel will focus in the social sciences approach but no exclusively.