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Collaboration between traditional practitioners and primary health care staff in South Africa: Developing a workable partnership for community mental health services

Collaboration between traditional practitioners and primary health care staff in South Africa: Developing a workable partnership for community mental health services
Collaboration between traditional practitioners and primary health care staff in South Africa: Developing a workable partnership for community mental health services
The majority of the black African population in South Africa utilize both traditional and public sector Western systems of healing for mental health care. There is a need to develop models of collaboration that promote a workable relationship between the two healing systems. The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of service users and providers of current interactions between the two systems of care and ways in which collaboration could be improved in the provision of community mental health services. Qualitative individual and focus group interviews were conducted with key health care providers and service users in one typical rural South African health sub-district. The majority of service users held traditional explanatory models of illness and used dual systems of care, with shifting between treatment modalities reportedly causing problems with treatment adherence. Traditional healers expressed a lack of appreciation from Western health care practitioners but were open to training in Western biomedical approaches and establishing a collaborative relationship in the interests of improving patient care. Western biomedically trained practitioners were less interested in such an arrangement. Interventions to acquaint traditional practitioners with Western approaches to the treatment of mental illness, orientation of Western practitioners towards a culture-centred approach to mental health care, as well as the establishment of fora to facilitate the negotiation of respectful collaborative relationships between the two systems of healing are required at district level to promote an equitable collaboration in the interests of improved patient care.
collaboration, mental health, traditional practitioners, south africa
1363-4615
610-628
Campbell-Hall, Vicky
654f0745-d0ad-4aa6-bf1f-3438a64589f1
Petersen, Inge
ebea2df1-8846-4239-9b2d-2ca4b58adf5d
Bhana, Arvin
da7f6867-cb93-4e19-b331-cdc03d20d036
Mjadu, Sithembile
61a9470f-d48f-4eb6-a0f8-2b96abb663f5
Hosegood, Victoria
c59a89d5-5edc-42dd-b282-f44458fd2993
Flisher, Alan J.
8337ba26-2634-4955-81b5-fdb0cdc6e7a5
Campbell-Hall, Vicky
654f0745-d0ad-4aa6-bf1f-3438a64589f1
Petersen, Inge
ebea2df1-8846-4239-9b2d-2ca4b58adf5d
Bhana, Arvin
da7f6867-cb93-4e19-b331-cdc03d20d036
Mjadu, Sithembile
61a9470f-d48f-4eb6-a0f8-2b96abb663f5
Hosegood, Victoria
c59a89d5-5edc-42dd-b282-f44458fd2993
Flisher, Alan J.
8337ba26-2634-4955-81b5-fdb0cdc6e7a5

Campbell-Hall, Vicky, Petersen, Inge, Bhana, Arvin, Mjadu, Sithembile, Hosegood, Victoria and Flisher, Alan J. (2010) Collaboration between traditional practitioners and primary health care staff in South Africa: Developing a workable partnership for community mental health services. Transcultural Psychiatry, 47 (4), 610-628. (doi:10.1177/1363461510383459).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The majority of the black African population in South Africa utilize both traditional and public sector Western systems of healing for mental health care. There is a need to develop models of collaboration that promote a workable relationship between the two healing systems. The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of service users and providers of current interactions between the two systems of care and ways in which collaboration could be improved in the provision of community mental health services. Qualitative individual and focus group interviews were conducted with key health care providers and service users in one typical rural South African health sub-district. The majority of service users held traditional explanatory models of illness and used dual systems of care, with shifting between treatment modalities reportedly causing problems with treatment adherence. Traditional healers expressed a lack of appreciation from Western health care practitioners but were open to training in Western biomedical approaches and establishing a collaborative relationship in the interests of improving patient care. Western biomedically trained practitioners were less interested in such an arrangement. Interventions to acquaint traditional practitioners with Western approaches to the treatment of mental illness, orientation of Western practitioners towards a culture-centred approach to mental health care, as well as the establishment of fora to facilitate the negotiation of respectful collaborative relationships between the two systems of healing are required at district level to promote an equitable collaboration in the interests of improved patient care.

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More information

Published date: September 2010
Keywords: collaboration, mental health, traditional practitioners, south africa

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 181357
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/181357
ISSN: 1363-4615
PURE UUID: 565c0246-3afd-4b54-bd67-45a58ef6a8c1
ORCID for Victoria Hosegood: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2244-2518

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Apr 2011 13:51
Last modified: 20 Dec 2018 01:31

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