n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - Perceptions of traditional healers on the treatment of diarrhoea in Vhembe District Municipality of Limpopo Province, South Africa




Diarrhoea illness has long been recognised as the cause of death of millions of people worldwide especially in developing countries (Nkwi, 1994). The disease is treated using western as well as traditional remedies. The knowledge of traditional healers and their practices can play an important role in building capacity to promote the appropriate home management of diarrhoea (Anokbonggo et al., 1990). Traditional healers around the world have different beliefs and understanding of diarrhoeal disease and its treatment. The aim of the project was to investigate the perception and concept of traditional healers on the treatment of diarrhoea in Vhembe district. Twenty traditional healers from two municipalities (Mutale and Thulamela) around Vhembe district were interviewed. Data was collected through interviews using questionnaires. Interviews were conducted with individuals in their own languages and later translated into English. According to Vhembe traditional healers, diarhoea is described as a disease which can lead to death as a result of excessive loss of water in a patient's body through vomiting and frequent visits to a toilet. Symptoms of diarrhoea include vomiting, loss of weight, and change in appearance of skin, face and eyes. Traditional healers of Vhembe district have a better understanding of diarrhoeal diseases. They mention different categories of diarrhoeal diseases. There is a lack of information when it comes to the description of diarrhoeal illness's on infants and children.


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