Home Institution

Duke University

Publication Date

Summer 2011

Program Name

Madagascar: Traditional Medicine and Health Care Systems


In my seminar paper, I discussed the benefits for both parties of collaboration between traditional healers and modern scientific researchers. If research is done on the medicinal effects of plants, these cures can be used more safely and effectively by members of the community. This relationship is greatly beneficial in theory, but the reality is less than ideal. Researchers, especially foreign ones, depreciate and exploit the knowledge of healers, and as a result, healers are often distrustful and unwilling to collaborate. The relationship between healers and researchers potentially holds the cures to countless diseases and can contribute directly to greater global health, especially in communities where traditional medicine is the primary form of health care. It is imperative that we find ways to nurture and improve this relationship to facilitate the exchange of information between these two disparate groups. I believe this can be accomplished through a combination of research- and policy-based measures designed to exalt healers to the status they deserve.


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Health Policy | Health Services Research | Inequality and Stratification | International Public Health | Public Health