Home Institution

Washington University in St. Louis

Publication Date

Fall 2015

Program Name

Madagascar: Urbanization and Rural Development


The formal integration of traditional and conventional medicine has been touted as a prime method to improve access to quality healthcare in Madagascar. This study draws on interviews with both traditional and conventional medical professionals as well as 100 residents of 67ha, Antananarivo to critically analyze the advantages of each sector in order to understand how integration can be used to strengthen the medical-decision making capacities of marginalized populations. Currently the ability for millions of Malagasy to exercise their freedom of choice in seeking their treatment method of choice is seriously compromised not only by cost and accessibility but by widespread mistrust and misinformation surrounding conventional medicine, caused in large part by the corrupt actions of healthcare professionals, particularly in the public sector where individuals lacking in financial resources are most likely to seek treatment. On the other hand, traditional medicine empowers marginalized populations to take control of their own health with readily accessible resources that can be used with knowledge passed down from their ancestors. Further investment in the regulation and research of traditional medicine is necessary in order to validate traditional medicine in the eyes of conventional healthcare providers, both in Madagascar and abroad. Such efforts need to be implemented in a responsible manner that ensures the conservation of national medicinal plant resources for generations to come.


Health Services Administration | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health Education and Promotion