Program

Oral

How indigenous belief systems and cultural practice guides help seeking behavior for psychosocial and medical problems: a South African perspective

[Speaker] Vawda, Naseema B:1
1:University of KwaZulu Natal (South Africa(Republic of South Africa))

Indigenous belief systems affect cultural practice and are relevant in the healthcare professions. Services for medical and psychosocial problems are advertised by people identifying themselves as doctors /healers. This paper contextualizes health and psychosocial concerns, the methods used to diagnose and treat these conditions in a developing country and to indicate the use of pluralistic services. Services ranged from: relationship issues, the prevention/resolution of financial or economic problems, winning lotteries, getting jobs/promotions, the removal of bewitchment/bad luck, help with medical problems, legal and immigration related problems. The results were conceptualized within a South African indigenous belief system, attributing causality of ill-health or misfortune to witchcraft. Despite modernization and globalization, some individuals seek help from non -medically trained individuals for medical and psychosocial problems. Health care providers in culturally diverse societies should be aware of the availability of these services and their use by "westernized" or globalized Africans for problems.
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