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n Health SA Gesondheid - An investigation into the practices of traditional and faith healers in an urban setting in South Africa

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Abstract

There is a lack of knowledge on traditional and faith healer's fees, practice and attitudes towards working within the government health sector. Therefore this study is aimed at investigating the above in an urban area in the Northern Province of South Africa. The objectives are: (1) to identify the demographic and practice characteristics of traditional and faith healers in an urban setting, (2) identify the conditions and problems commonly treated by traditional and faith healers, and (3) assess the referral details and willingness to work within the biomedical sector, the costs involved as well as the training needs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with traditional healers (n=20) and faith healers (n=23) in an urban area in the Northern Province (South Africa) on socio-demographic characteristics, practice particulars, training, areas of specialisation, case load, the five commonest reasons for consultation, referral information, fees structure and attitudes towards government health service. As a result, it was found that both traditional and faith healers seem to treat a variety of problems and illnesses. Traditional healers seem to be more specialised in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and children's diseases, whereas faith healers are more specialised in substance abuse and chronic conditions as well as social problems. Both traditional and faith healers seem, at an equal level, to deal with witchcraft/sorcery related problems, physical disorders and mental disorders. Both traditional and faith healers hardly referred or got referred any patients in the last 4 weeks. Faith healers saw on average much more new (67) and old patients (54) patients in the last 4 weeks than traditional healers did (new patients: 9.6 and old patients: 6.1). Generally traditional healers seem to be more willing than faith healers to work within the government health service, irrespective of the place: in own premises, in a general practice surgery, or in hospital with outpatients.

Daar is gebrekkige kennis oor die fooie van tradisionele en geloofsgenesers en die praktyke en houdings ten opsigte van hulle werk in die gesondheidsdepartement van die staat. Hierdie navorsing is gemik op die bovermelde aspekte in 'n stedelike gebied in die Noordelike Provinsie van Suid Afrika. Die doelwitte is soos volg: (1) om die demografiese en praktiese kenmerke van tradisionele en geloofsgenesers in 'n stedelike konteks te identifiseer, (2) om die probleme en kondisies wat oor die algemeen deur tradisionele en geloofsgenesers behandel word te identifiseer, (3) en om die verwysings, gewilligheid om in die biomediese sektor te werk, koste aspek sowel as opleidings behoeftes vas te stel. Halfgestruktureerde onderhoude is met twintig tradisionele genesers en drie-en-twintig geloofsgenesers in 'n stedelike konteks in die Noordelike Provinsie in Suid Afrika gehou. Die onderhoude het die volgende aspekte behels: sosio-demografiese karaktertrekke, besonderhede oor praktyke, opleiding, spesialiteitsareas, kliëntelading, die vyf mees algemene redes vir konsultasies, inligting oor verwysings, fooie, en houdings oor die staat se gesondheidsdienste. Die resultaat van die ondersoek is dat beide tradisionele en geloofsgenesers 'n verskeidenheid van probleme en siektes behandel. Tradisionele genesers spesialiseer meer in die behandeling van seksueel oordraagbare siektes en kindersiektes terwyl geloofsgenesers meer spesialiseer in dwelmmisbruik, kroniese toestande en sosiale probleme. Beide groepe behandel op gelyke basis heksery, fisieke afwykings en geestessiektes. Beide groepe het feitlik geen verwysings gemaak of gekry gedurende die afgelope vier weke nie. Geloofsgenesers het gemiddeld meer nuwe (67) en ou pasiënte (54) in die laaste vier weke as tradisionele genesers (nuwe 9.6 en ou pasiënte 6.1) gesien. Oor die algemeen is tradisionele genesers meer gewillig as geloofsgenesers om in die gesondheidsdepartement van die staat te werk ongeag die omgewing van die konsultasie: eie spreekkamer, algemene praktyk of in hospitaal vir buitepasiënte.

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/content/health/6/2/EJC35185
2001-06-01
2016-12-07
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