Traditional medicine in sub-Saharan Africa : its importance and potential policy options
This report indicates that about 20 percent of Africans who seek medical care first consult traditional healers. Patients tend to consult modern health care services for infectious or acute diseases, or those for which modern health care has been shown to be highly effective. But patients tend to consult traditional practitioners for chronic diseases, for diseases related to psychological or social disruption or to reproductive systems, for diseases that are slow to respond to treatment or deemed to be"magical"in origin. The prestige and credibility of traditional healers have been waning in the face of modernization and an increasingly educated public. Even so many highly educated people consult traditional practitioners. A survey in Ibadan of two groups - one educated elite, the other a traditional, less privileged group - found that roughly 70percent of both groups used traditional health care, particularly traditional drugs. The author shows that traditional medicine is an important source of health care for significant number of Africans and that traditional healers, particularly those who wield authority within their communities, are an important human resource for health care.
Gender and Health,Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Health Systems Development&Reform,Regional Rural Development,Hygiene Promotion and Social Marketing
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