Original Research

Integration of traditional medicine into the mental healthcare system in Tshwane, South Africa

Vusi F.J. Masemola, Ellen M. Thobakgale, Indiran Govender
South African Family Practice | Vol 65, No 1 : Part 2| a5636 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v65i1.5636 | © 2023 Vusi F.J. Masemola, Ellen M. Thobakgale, Indiran Govender | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 September 2022 | Published: 19 May 2023

About the author(s)

Vusi F.J. Masemola, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Health Care Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria, South Africa
Ellen M. Thobakgale, School of Health Care Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Indiran Govender, Department Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Mental healthcare providers have a negative attitude towards the integration of traditional health medicine (THM) into the mental health system. The attitude is based on their lack of trust in traditional practices, which are not supported by substantial evidence-based medical research. The study was conducted to determine mental healthcare providers views on the integration of traditional health medicine into the mental healthcare system.

Methods: The study was conducted at a psychiatric hospital in the Tshwane district, Gauteng province, South Africa. A cross-sectional, descriptive research design was conducted on 85 respondents who consented to participate. Data were collected using a survey questionnaire from 23 psychiatrists and 62 psychiatric nurses. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and presented in the form of graphs, frequencies and percentages.

Results: Mental healthcare providers displayed a negative attitude towards integrating THM in psychiatric hospitals. The results showed no significant difference between psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses in their preference for modern mental healthcare practices (p = 0.25).

Conclusion: There is still doubt among the mental healthcare providers on whether to support integration of the THM into mental health system or not. The doubt is based on the two-health system isolated from each other especially in South Africa.

Contribution: This study contributed by showing the need and importance of understanding a patients’ cultural background, which supports the integration of a traditional health system into the mental healthcare system, which in turn will lead to the appropriate management of mental illnesses.

 


Keywords

attitude; integration; mental healthcare providers; psychiatric hospital; traditional health medicine

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