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October 2021

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1980 ; 74(3): 318-25.

Some aspects of Yoruba traditional healers and their practice.

Oyebola DD.

156 traditional healers/midwives randomly selected from all over the Yoruba-speaking areas of Nigeria were studied. Sociological data (age, sex, religion, educational status) and other details of their personal and job histories were documented. The results showed, amongst other things, that 72.4% of the 156 herbalists interviewed were more than 40 years old. The study also revealed that all traditional healers/midwives are trained before they start to practise and that people from all walks of life, irrespective of their educational and socio-economic status, illiterates, literates, students, traders, top professionals, nurses, doctors and clergymen consult traditional healers for diverse reasons. Some herbalists specialize, others are general practitioners. More than 50% of the herbalists earn enough from their practice for their upkeep. Patients pay for their treatment in cash or in kind. 125 (80%) of the herbalists were willing to cooperate with western-trained doctors if this is suggested. The results of this study were compared and contrasted with the practice of traditional medicine in other parts of Nigeria and other countries of the world where similar practices are still in vogue.

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