BARBARA N. NGWENYA, KERSTIN ANDRAE-MAROBELA, KEITSENG N. MONYATSI, HARRIET OKATCH, AUDREY MASIZANA-KATONGO AND MBAKI MUZILA, OKAVANGO RESEARCH INSTITUTE (ORI), BOTSWANA, UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA
CENTRE FOR SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH, INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE & INNOVATION (CESRIKI), BOTSWANA
AFRICAN REGIONAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION (ARIPO), ZIMBABWE
Purpose – This study examines how the globalized context of healers shape traditional healthcare systems in Botswana with regard to the diverse spectrum of global technologies, global epidemics and patients.
Design/methodology/approach – A participatory exploratory study design was chosen combined with a multiple approach to data collection and analysis using consultative and report-back workshops, individual interviews and focus-group discussions.
Findings – Whereas 75 per cent of traditional healers were village-based, 89 per cent of their clients either originated from within or outside of Botswana. Traditional healer’s training was found to be a lifelong learning. The traditional healthcare profession is shaped by many influences that characterise the global world. Most traditional healers recognized HIV and AIDS as a “new” global disease to which they had to adapt. Forty-six per cent of healers owned mobile phones, which are used to contact national and international patients, demonstrating the use of modern information technology.
Originality/value – Contrary to common perceptions of traditional healthcare systems as only locally defined, this study presents findings that traditional healing is shaped by and shapes a global health context.
Keywords Traditional medicine, Traditional healers, Globalization
Paper type Research paper