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In My Time of DyingA History of Death and the Dead in West Africa$
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John Parker

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691193151

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691193151.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 24 January 2022

The Colony of Medicine

The Colony of Medicine

(p.245) 15 The Colony of Medicine
In My Time of Dying

John Parker

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks into Ghana's significant change which affected the whole of Africa: the continent's population had begun to increase dramatically by the middle of the twentieth century. The chapter shows the demographic historians' arguments over the reason for this, some pointing to rising birth rates and others to falling death rates. While available evidence suggests that in most regions women's fertility levels remained broadly the same over the first half of the century, there are indications of an accelerating decline in mortality rates, particularly among infants and young children. Yet the overall impact is clear: Africans were, on average, living longer and dying older. The chapter turns to discuss a crucial factor in the increasing denial of death: modern medicine. As individual life expectancy and the overall population in the Gold Coast begun to increase dramatically, the chapter examines how these changes impacted upon attitudes towards death and upon the experience of dying.

Keywords:   Ghana, Africa, birth rates, death rates, modern medicine, life expectancy, population increase, Gold Coast

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