Barbara N. Ngwenya,Okavango Research Institute (ORI), Botswana
Kerstin Andrae-Marobela, University of Botswana and Centre for Scientific Research, Indigenous Knowledge & Innovation (CesrIKi), Botswana
Keitseng N. Monyatsi, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), Zimbabwe
Harriet Okatch, University of Botswana, Botswana
Audrey Masizana-Katongo, University of Botswana, Botswana
Mbaki Muzila, University of Botswana, Botswana
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 focusgroup 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