Issues to consider when applying indigenous medical knowledge to provide healthcare by county governments in Kenya
Rationale of Study – This study explores issues that should be considered in implementing IMK in providing quality healthcare by county governments in Kenya. The study’s specific objectives were to determine different categories of IMK systems, to analyse categories of IMK practitioners and to propose issues that need to be considered in the application of IMK in the provision of quality health care by county governments in Kenya.
Methodology – The study used a qualitative research approach. Data was collected from literature sources identified purposively through different search engines based on their relevance to the research topic.
Findings – The study found that there are different systems of IMK, including pharmacology, physiotherapy, spiritual therapy and surgical therapy. In terms of practitioners, the study found that IMK practitioners can be categorised as herbalists, generalists, bone setters, dentists, traditional birth attendants and spiritual healers. Further, the issues that the county government should consider the application of IMK in the provision of health care include governance issues, intellectual property rights, application of IMK to health care provision, and proper management of IMK covering creation, codification, transfer, utilisation, validation and preservation.
Implications – The study recommended that county governments in Kenya should: involve IMK practitioners in their healthcare delivery, address IMK management issues, and put in place appropriate legal and policy instruments to guide their efforts in integrating IMK systems in healthcare delivery. Implementing these recommendations will ensure that county governments can pull back their healthcare challenges by appropriately investing in their IMK resources.
Originality – The study was original and explores a unique issue within the context of traditional knowledge in Kenya.
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