Traditional psychiatric healing in Igbo land, Southeastern Nigeria


Nwoko Kenneth Chukwuemeka

In recent times there have been debates among health professionals on the desirability of integrating traditional health practices into orthodox medicine. This thinking was influenced by the resistance of some ailments to the orthodox healing methods as well as the proven efficacy of traditional healing processes in the treatment of some ailments. In Nigeria, the ambience of psychiatric victims or madmen at every corner and under bridges has raised some concerns on the actual role of psychiatric hospitals and their efficiency and effectiveness in contemporary times. The need for new ways of handling psychiatric cases led to new interest in traditional healing processes which have been shown to be effective in the management of ailments. Consequently traditional practitioners have availed themselves the opportunity of this debate to call for recognition as partners in the provision of effective and affordable health care. This paper explored the traditional psychiatric healing processes in Igbo land, Nigeria. It analyzed the various concepts, processes, perspectives and dimensions of traditional psychiatric healing in Igbo land and argued for the integration of this aspect of psychiatry into modern system of psychological or psychiatric intervention and general health care.

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