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Edward L. Margetts: papers on mental health in East Africa, prepared for 1958 specialists' meeting

Margetts, Edward L

About this work


Two typescript papers prepared by Margetts for the CCTA/CSA WFMH WHO Meeting of Specialists on Mental Health, Bukavu, Congo, 1958:

"Ethnopsychiatry in the field: an outline of the anthropological approach to the study of psychopathology and mental illness in African natives": a long paper (12pp.) mapping Western concepts and practices to those used in East Africa, and discussing the prevalance of particular conditions, beliefs, sexual and other practices, and so forth, dated London, 6th February 1958.

"Psychiatric facilities in Kenya": a short (3pp.) summary of the facilities available, dated Bukavu, 12th March, 1958.

Both papers carry a note at the end that these are working versions not to be cited without contacting the author at the University of British Columbia, this note dated 1960.



Physical description

1 File

Acquisition note

Original source not known.

Biographical note

Edward Lambert Margetts (1920-2004), psychiatrist and historian of medicine, was born in Canada and graduated from McGill University in 1944. He worked initially in Vancouver, before moving to Kenya in the 1950s.

For 8 years Margetts was the psychiatrist-in-charge at Mathari Hospital, Nairobi, a mental hospital where he employed techniques of Western scientific medicine but also carried out considerable research on the native healing traditions for mental illness across East Africa. He attended spirit possession ceremonies and described the practice of trepanation.

By 1960 Margetts had returned to Canada, taking up a post at the University of British Columbia's Department of Psychiatry. He spent some time in Geneva in the 1970s working for the World Health Organisation, but apart from this remained at the the University of British Columbia for the rest of his career. He died in 2004.

Biographical information about Margetts is given on the Oxford University School of African studies website.

Related material

In the Wellcome Library:

Correspondence with Margetts occurs in the papers of the medical historians Charles and Dorothea Singer (PP/CJS/A.12 ) and the papers of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum (WA/HMM/CO/Chr/K.62 ).

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