The Perceptions Of Traditional Healers Of Cervical Cancer Care At Ga Mothapo Village In Limpopo Province
The purpose of this article is to explore and describe the perceptions of traditional healers of cervical cancer care. The incidence of cervical cancer, especially among black South African females, is among the highest in the world. Women report at clinics and hospitals on a daily basis with advanced stages (stages III and IV) of cervical cancer. Black women consult traditional healers first, before they consult health-care professionals. Although cervical cancer survival rates are said to be improving across South Africa, not all women benefit from the screening programme for early detection of cervical cancer. Traditional healers perform an indispensable role in the delivery of health care, especially in rural areas where access to biomedical care is limited. The article is based on a qualitative, descriptive, and exploratory study. The study population included traditional healers who were chosen through snowball sampling. Data was collected by means of in-depth interviews. Data was analysed using Tesch's method. The findings of this study demonstrated that the traditional health practitioners have good knowledge about cervical cancer care. This was shown by the knowledge they had of naming the disease, predisposing factors and causes, of cancer care, symptoms of diseases, diagnostic measures and methods of treatment. The findings of this study provided valuable information on the perceptions of traditional healers of cervical cancer care. In view of the knowledge that the traditional healers possess, this study recommended that there be sharing of knowledge and collaboration between modern health-care practitioners and traditional healers. Collaboration may assist in early detection and treatment of cervical cancer, thereby improving the mortality rate
Keywords: Traditional healers, traditional medicine, western medicine, cervical cancer, perceptions.
Indilinga Vol. 7 (1) 2008: pp. 103-116