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An Auto-Ethnographical Study of Integration of Kanuri Traditional Health Practices into the Borno State Health Care Stystem

El-Yakub, Kaka (2009) An Auto-Ethnographical Study of Integration of Kanuri Traditional Health Practices into the Borno State Health Care Stystem. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



There are many forms of traditional health practices in Nigeria, many of which are at odds or conflict with orthodox western biomedical practices. Yet they are hightly patronized, especially by rural dwellers who make up about 80 percent of the country’s population. The objective of this thesis is to consider the traditional health practices of the Kanuri people of Borno, NE Nigeria, and the extent to which they may harm and endanger the lives of people especially mothers and children. The context of the study is the high rates of
maternal and infant mortality in the state. I occupy a dual role as both an upholder of the traditions of the Kanuri people (including their health traditions) and a public health professional. The dissonance and paradox inherent in this dual role is illustrated with firsthand
examples throughout the thesis. It gave me the motivation to undertake this piece of research with a view to reducing the rhetorical gap between theory and practice which pertains in the state in regard to integrating the two systems, the co-existence and integration
of which is promoted by the health policy of the country as a whole.
Formal ethnographic research was conducted during a five year period from 1999 to 2005. The philosophy of reflexivity was adopted, drawing on my earlier experiences in an auto-ethnographic manner. Data triangulation was employed due to the complex nature of the research. Focus group discussions, interviews and questionnaire administration were employed with different categories of research subjects – traditional and orthodox health
workers, urban and rural mothers.
The results show that western-trained health professionals in the state stand between their own culture, which is of course changing, and the global professional identities they have acquired through professional development and training. At the same time the traditional healers can no longer operate in a context separate from official western-based systems which co-exist with the traditional practices and are widely known to the general
public in Borno. Historically, the systems have been in opposition. Now there is supposed to be collaboration and overlap.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Health Care, Health Policy, Traditional Healers, Harmful Practices, Integration, Kanuri, Borno, Nigeria
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:16 Mar 2010 10:45

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