West Afr J Med. 1997 Jul-Sep; 16(3): 184-90.
The family planning aspects of the practice of traditional healers in Ibadan, Nigeria.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
The family planning aspects of the practice of traditional healers in Ibadan, a large city in south west Nigeria, was investigated by means of a questionnaire survey of 193 traditional healers. The findings revealed that between 13% and 53% agreed with certain cultural beliefs which tend to increase fertility and that their perceptions of ideal child spacing is most commonly 2-3 years. Only 13% think a couple should have a specified number of children; a large proportion think the number should be "as God wills" (42%) or as many as the couple has resources to cope with (42%). Nearly all think that traditional healers and orthodox health professional should work together in the area of family planning. While most of them recommend traditional methods of contraception (such as beads and herbs) to their clients, up to 22% recommend modern family planning methods such as condoms and oral contraceptive pills. The implications of these findings for family planning programmes and the possibility of the involvement of traditional healers in the promotion of modern family planning methods are discussed.