Do the majority of South Africans regularly consult traditional healers?
MetadataShow full item record
Background: The statutory recognition of traditional healers as healthcare practitioners in South Africa in terms of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act 22 of 2007 is based on various assumptions, opinions and generalizations. One of the prominent views is that the majority of South Africans regularly consult traditional healers. It even has been alleged that this number can be as high as 80 per cent of the South African population. For medical doctors and other health practitioners registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), this new statutory status of traditional health practitioners, means the required presence of not only a healthcare competitor that can overstock the healthcare market with service lending, medical claims and healthcare costs, but also a competitor prone to malpractice. Aims: The study aimed to determine if the majority of South Africans regularly consult traditional healers. Methods: This is an exploratory and descriptive study following the modern historical approach of investigation and literature review. The emphasis is on using current documentation like articles, books and newspapers, as primary sources to determine if the majority of South Africans regularly consult traditional healers. The findings are offered in narrative form. Results: It is clear that there is no trustworthy statistics on the percentages of South Africans using traditional healers. A scientific survey is needed to determine the extent to which traditional healers are consulted. This will only be possible after the Traditional Health Practitioners Act No 22 has been fully enacted and traditional health practitioners have become fully active in the healthcare sector. Conclusion: In poorer, rural areas no more than 11.2 per cent of the South African population regularly consult traditional healers, while the figure for the total population seems to be no more than 1.4 per cent. The argument that the majority of South Africans regularly consult traditional healers is unsubstantiated.
- Faculty of Humanities