Most of the health systems in developing countries are dysfunctional and hardly responsive to the needs and demands of patients. Access to a plural healthcare system and reports of patients abandoning western medicine for indigenous medicine are signs of nonresponsive health system. The major contributing factors are the failures of the allopathic health system to recognize that indigenous medicine is a living and practised science, with its own philosophy, beliefs and practices developed over centuries. Indigenous communities and the patient’s worldviews are intertwined with indigenous traditions, practices and beliefs. While the two health systems, allopathic and indigenous, coexist in Africa, they must collaborate in the management of patients. The two systems assign different etiological explanations and meanings to health, disease and illness based on worldviews, epistemologies and methodologies developed over time. Change of mindset, attitudes and practices through decolonization will lead to sustainable collaboration.
Part of the book: Public Health in Developing Countries