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January 2022

Br J Psychiatry. 1984 Aug; 145(): 187-92.

Modern or traditional? A study of treatment preference for neuropsychiatric disorders in Botswana.

Dale JR, Ben-Tovim DI.

Subjects in Botswana were asked to state their preference between modern (doctor or nurse) or indigenous (traditional or religious healer) care for three case vignettes of epilepsy, psychosis, and tuberculosis. Nurses, medical patients, and a general village population were studied. Many subjects preferred modern care for all disorders, whilst a small number favoured indigenous treatment only. A significant percentage discriminated between disorders, choosing indigenous care for some and modern for others. Indigenous care was most favoured for epilepsy, and least for tuberculosis. Psychosis took an intermediate position. The size of the discriminating group varied between populations, but the overall pattern of attitudes remained the same. Neither demographic factors nor aetiological beliefs consistently identified those who choose indigenous care.


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