Traditional healers' and biomedical practitioners' perceptions of collaborative mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review

Article


Green, B. and Colucci, E. 2020. Traditional healers' and biomedical practitioners' perceptions of collaborative mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review. Transcultural Psychiatry. 57 (1), pp. 94-107. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363461519894396
TypeArticle
TitleTraditional healers' and biomedical practitioners' perceptions of collaborative mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review
AuthorsGreen, B. and Colucci, E.
Abstract

Access to mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is one of the greatest challenges in public health today. One suggestion for improving accessibility is through collaboration between biomedical practitioners and traditional healers. This paper reviews studies of traditional healers’ and biomedical practitioners’ perceptions of collaboration. We conducted a systematic review of online databases, selected journals, and reference lists for relevant studies. Eligible papers were assessed using a tool designed for this review for quality and study characteristics, and qualitative data demonstrating participants’ views were extracted. A total of 14 papers from seven countries were included. The published literature on this topic is relatively homogenous and studies are of variable quality. The findings suggest that, despite differing conceptualisations of mental illness causation, both traditional healers and biomedical practitioners recognise that patients can benefit from a combination of both practices and demonstrate a clear willingness to work together. There are concerns about patients’ safety and human rights regarding traditional methods and some healers are sceptical about the effectiveness of Western psychiatric medication. Despite keeping the inclusion criteria open to all LMICs, all 13 studies were conducted in Africa, seven of which were in South Africa. This limits the applicability of the findings of this review to the wider LMIC context. The paper concludes with recommendations for research and practice.

Keywordscollaboration; community care; low and middle-income countries; mental health; traditional healer
LanguageEnglish
PublisherSage
JournalTranscultural Psychiatry
ISSN1363-4615
Electronic1461-7471
Publication dates
Online14 Jan 2020
Print01 Feb 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jan 2020
Accepted14 Jan 2020
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
Copyright Statement

Green, B., & Colucci, E. (2020). Traditional healers’ and biomedical practitioners’ perceptions of collaborative mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review. Transcultural Psychiatry. Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). DOI: 10.1177/1363461519894396

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1363461519894396
Web of Science identifierWOS:000507440300001
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