- The “Relevance” of the African Traditional Medicine (Alternative Medicine) to Health Care Delivery System in Nigeria
- The Journal of Developing Areas
- Tennessee State University College of Business
- Volume 47, Number 1, Spring 2013
- pp. 319-338
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This paper set out to examine the relevance of the African Traditional Medicine in Health Care Delivery Services in Nigeria. This has become necessary for three main reasons: Firstly, African Traditional Medicine Practitioners provided the earliest medical care in Nigeria. Secondly, the World Health Organisation has recognized the need to integrate the traditional medicine on the orthodox medicine when it defines it, as the total combination of knowledge and practices, whether explicable or not, used in diagnosing, preventing or eliminating physical, mental or social diseases. Thirdly, there are claims by the practitioners that since orthodox medicine cannot cure all diseases; hence, they can intervene in the areas where orthodox medicine is weak. Such areas include, social psychiatry, hypertension, diabetes, epilepsy and other psychosomatic illnesses. The researcher thus took a purposive sample of one hundred and fifty consisting of (50) traditional medicine practitioners, 50 orthodox medicine practitioners and 50 patients using interview and questionnaire administration to garner information on the relevance of traditional medicine in the Health Care Delivery system in Nigeria. Participant observation method was also used to reinforce the interview and questionnaire administration respectively. Secondary data were also obtained from the traditional medical clinics visited in Ibadan, Oyo, lIe-lfe and Ikire all in South Western Nigeria. Data collected were analysed descriptively and the findings are that: (i) African traditional medicine predated orthodox medicine in Nigeria; (ii) Traditional medical care is strong in some areas where the orthodox medicine is not very effective; (iii) There are problems associated with administration of traditional medical care such as issues of measurability of its drugs, dosage, preparation, documentation, preservation, potency and determination of the side effect and (iv) if the shortcomings are rectified, then, the African traditional medicine has a lot to offer in saving lives of African citizens and beyond the continent. The paper concluded that there is a need to properly integrate and blend African medicine on the orthodox medicine because such reinforcement will be of immense advantage to the sick and humanity in general.