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October 24, 1966

Native Medicine in North Africa

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md

JAMA. 1966;198(4):489. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110170201046

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To the Editor:—  The letter from Carl E. Bertecchi, MC, USA (197: 734, 1966) regarding native medicine in Viet Nam reminded me of a similar observation in Algiers in 1963. During that summer I spent the month of August at the Beni Messous Hospital near the city of Algiers with the Washington University Medical School contingent operating the hospital for CARE-MEDICO.We participated in the medical and surgical care of both in- and outpatient native Algerians. Essentially all communications was in the native dialect through interpreters. However, a skin marking similar to that observed in Viet Nam became a useful diagnostic tool.In the area of complaint would be found multiple 2 × 1-cm areas of superficial thermal burn in various stages of healing. These had been inflicted by the local village medicine man in an attempt to relieve pain or discomfort in treating illness.By observing these areas the