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Core content of indigenous training of traditional health practitioners in KwaZulu-Natal: a case of Ogobela

Nompumelelo Mbatha
Mlungisi Ngcobo
Nceba Gqaleni
Exnevia Gomo


Introduction: According to the WHO, articulation of the training content is an important milestone in developing training programmes for THP and accreditation. This stipulation has been validated by a number of countries who have successfully developed training programs for THPs. In South Africa if the authorities are to successfully accredit THP it is important that they should identify the indigenous training content utilised in THP training.

Materials and methods: An exploratory descriptive qualitative research was undertaken for three months to collect data from the Traditional Health Practitioners (THP) Tutors and their trainees in the rural, peri-urban and urban areas of EThekwini Municipality and King Cetshwayo District in KZN. Sequential sampling approach of purposeful, convenient and snowballing was used.

Results: Diagnostic skills; identification of illnesses, physical, psychological and culture bound causal factors; procedures of ukuthwasa; systematic healing procedures; treatment procedures; African medicines; patient care, categories of rituals and behavioural counselling were identified as the core contents of training. The sequence of delivery was observed to be random based on the opportunity provided by the influx of patients. However diversity in terms of the application of knowledge also observed.

Conclusion: There is an identifiable training content prevailing within the indigenous training of traditional health practitioners. The content is based on broader methodical concepts of treatment methods, systematic procedures and diagnoses. Even though the transfer of content is random and based on the influx of patients; it does however contribute towards ensuring relevant experiential learning for the trainees. This type of learning is practical for the users but poses a challenge for integration of traditional medicine training into accreditation mainstream which is based on progressive sequential type of learning.

Keywords: Traditional Health Practitioners, training content, treatment methods, systematic procedures and diagnoses