Understanding the Impact of AfricanTraditional Beliefs, Cust | 16513
International Research Journals

Understanding the Impact of AfricanTraditional Beliefs, Customs and Medicinal Practices on the Ebola Outbreak Crisis in West Africa


Ernest Tambo

In much of Africa, beliefs, religion and traditional medicine have historically gone hand in hand, but increasingly these elements have come into conflict with modern healthcare which is secular in nature and more heavily challenged. Indeed, the estimates are that about 70-80% of the population in developing countries depends on traditional medicine fo r their primary health care needs. There is a strong belief which purports that Ebola is contracted through a curse, or in some cases, that it is a white man's fabrication. Such perceptions inevitably lead to mistrust of foreigners and associated humanitarian protective equipments, and to modern medicine as a whole. Strengthening primary healthcare has an expanded coverage mandate to include legally permissible medical interventions which might violate religious norms and fuel furthe r tensions. This paper aims to: (1) identify the various ways in which African religion and healthcare intersect in issue of global health security; (2) understand how African beliefs and traditional practices impact on healthcare seeking behaviour and attitudes within African communities and (3) explore ways in which to promote greater diversity in healthcare alternatives, by considering integration of African traditional medicinal practices and homeopathy towards greater global health security.

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