Collaboration between traditional practitioners and primary health care staff in South Africa: developing a workable partnership for community mental health services
The authors, consequently, 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.
Key findings of this paper are:
- 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.
- on the other hand, 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.
- the establishment of fora to facilitate the negotiation of respectful collaborative relationships between the two systems of healing.