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Mixed MedicinesHealth and Culture in French Colonial Cambodia$
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Sokhieng Au

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226031637

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226031651.001.0001

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: Prostitutes and Mothers

: Prostitutes and Mothers

(p.119) Five: Prostitutes and Mothers
Mixed Medicines
University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates the contradictions in the colonial government's approach to indigenous women's health. Concerns with male and population health ultimately motivated colonial efforts to improve female health. The colonial engagement in women's health in Cambodia was closely associated to maternalist movements in the West. The French medical service undertook what were secondary causes of the unpopularity of Western medicine. The role of métis in the sage-femme programs is then discussed. The métis women entered the Assistance Médicale in the indigenous cadre, which instituted the rural birth attendant program, modeled most closely on a program in neighboring Vietnam. This program dissolved with the outbreak of World War II and the ensuing governmental instability. While in Europe women actively politicked for maternal and children's political rights, the maternal movement in Cambodia was only an initial step in creating a political engagement between indigenous women and the state.

Keywords:   indigenous women, health, female health, Cambodia, French medical service, Western medicine, métis, Assistance Médicale, rural birth attendant

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