Home Institution

Tufts University

Publication Date

Summer 2013

Program Name

Madagascar: Traditional Medicine and Health Care Systems


This paper seeks to discover and address the various reasons as to how traditional medicine, “the sum total of knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures that are used to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve or treat physical and mental illnesses” (WHO 2013), would benefit the U.S. Within the United States, health disparities from race and geographic location are worsening, and traditional medicine could be a viable way of reversing this. Madagascar and the U.S. face similar issues within allopathic medicine such as distance to a doctor and cost, but Madagascar addresses these issues in a cost effective manner: traditional medicine. As doctors and traditional healers in Madagascar have found, the use of traditional medicine can only make a population healthier, and those in the U.S. recognize the need to introduce an inexpensive and effective complimentary healthcare system. By doing so through a two-step exchange program, whereby Malagasy traditional healers would be introduced at community health centers in the United States, and U.S. allopathic doctors would be introduced at CSBs in Madagascar, both populations’ health would benefit tremendously.


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Community Health | Public Health