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October 2021

J Trauma. 1980 Apr; 20(4): 312-22.

Yoruba traditional bonesetters: the practice of orthopaedics in a primitive setting in Nigeria.

Oyebola DD.

Enquiries involving 165 Yoruba traditional healers revealed that the practice of surgery by these healers is rudimentary. Three traditional bonesetters were visited and interviewed extensively about their methods of diagnosis and treatment of fractures. Treatment sessions of one of the bonesetters were attended by the author and some aspects of his management were photographed. Case histories of two inpatients were recorded. The merits and demerits of the practice of traditional bonesetters are highlighted. Bonesetting as practiced by the Yoruba was compared and contrasted with similar treatment by other ethnic groups in Nigeria and with accounts available in the literature about other places like Liberia, Mali, East Africa, India, and China. The need to encourage Yoruba bonesetters to refer difficult cases to a modern hospital is stressed.


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