Do you know the origin and meaning of the symbol for western medicine? I mean that symbol of rod and snake called the rod of Asclepius? Dosen’t that snake irritate you? No, it shouldn’t because it is a foreign and harmless one.

Asclepius was the Greek demigod for medicine. Since the Greeks regarded snakes as a symbol for healing, they used it to decorate and honour Asclepius.

However, from the 19th century, many Americans altered it with the symbol of Caduceus which depicts two snakes winding around a winged staff. Caduceus is the symbol of Hermes which is the god of shepherds, travellers and commerce. Why they prefered the symbol of Caduceus to that of Asclepius remains subject to speculations.

However, in Africa, we regard African traditional medicine as fetish and diabolic because we believe it has one connection or the other with deities.

The diabolization of African medicine remains today the major reason Africans rank first in medical tourism and more sadly, the reasons for the high mortality rate in the continent. The war against african traditional medicine remains a very big loss for Africans and the world at large.

We destroyed a 200.000 years old medicine in the name of waging war against idolatry and turned back to blame the devil for our surging high mortality rate. Backwardness is indeed a choice.

Until we decide as a people to pick up our reasoning caps from the dustbin of colonialism, self-hate, inferiority complex and superstition, we shall continue to remain a laughing stock to the rest of the world.

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