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Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Fall 2008

Program Name

Cameroon: Development and Social Change


The purpose of this study was to examine how patients in Ngaoundéré Cameroon integrate traditional and Western medicine, and how they perceive such integration on the part of their health care providers. Interviews were conducted with thirty-five patients of the Hôpital Provincial and of traditional medical practitioners in the neighbourhood of Yarmbang. Both modern and traditional health care providers were also interviewed. Patients generally believe that the two types of medicine have different strengths related to cost, accessibility, accuracy of diagnosis and treatment, ability to treat certain illnesses, and practitioners’ understanding of patients’ culture. Patients decide whether to use modern medicine, traditional medicine, or both by weighing these strengths. The majority of patients would like for health care providers to understand both types of medicine and the strengths of each better, so that the providers could play a larger role in the integration of the two. Though patients currently understand the necessity of both types of medicine, providers may need to be pushed to reach this understanding by institutionalization of traditional medicine by the government.


Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Community Health and Preventive Medicine


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