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Experiences of traditional health practitioners in the management of female infertility in Harare urban areas: A qualitative study

Thokozile Mashaah
Exnevia Gomo
Julita C. Maradzika
Mugove G. Madziyire
James January


Female infertility is a health and social problem that traditional health practitioners (THPs) have been managing in African communities. This study explored the experiences of THPs in the management of female infertility, specifically focusing on their understanding, diagnosis, and treatment methods for female infertility. This was a qualitative study targeting six THPs in Harare urban areas registered with the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council (TMPC) in Zimbabwe. The Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) guidelines were followed in the description of the study design, analysis and presentation of findings. The findings revealed that the etiology of female infertility was attributed to biomedical, lifestyle, spiritual, and male factors. Management of infertility depended on the type of THP. Spirit mediums relied on divination and dreams to diagnose and treat female infertility. Herbalists focused on the physical evidence provided by the client through history taking. THPs had a client referral system within their TMPC network. All THPs ultimately used medicinal plants for treating female infertility. THPs play an important role in the management of female infertility. Understanding their contributions to the management of female infertility provides an opportunity to obtain insight into their practices, thus identifying areas that responsible Ministries can use to strengthen traditional health care systems and ultimately improve reproductive health care for women in African communities. (Afr J Reprod Health 2024; 28 [1]: 110-122)

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eISSN: 1118-4841