Hybrid care: reimagining healthcare : integrating traditional and western medicine into a hybrid medical centre in Johannesburg, South Africa

Nkosi, SGP
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Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) are in abundance in both the urban and rural areas of South Africa. According to the World Health Organization there are over 200 000 estimated indigenous traditional healers in South Africa compared to 27,000 Western-trained doctors (Mothibe, and Sibanda, 2019). However, the roles of THPs in the formal health sector remain both undefined and insufficiently formulated (Street et al., 2018). South Africa is historically known for its traditional and spiritual rituals of healing which were used long before biomedical systems were introduced. With the rise of technological and modern medical facilities, the country has made strides in its development of medical care systems in the past years. However, the current medical facilities are prototypes of western systems that don’t reflect South Africa’s rich culture or history. There is an unbalanced, one-sided health system that does not integrate traditional healthcare practices which are presently celebrated by a large population of the country. The question arises of how a Hybrid Health care facility which identifies with an integrated African Health care programme can be establised. What would this facility look like? My research report will focus on the collaboration of biomedical facilities and traditional medical facilities in South Africa. It aims to identify the individual roles these healing systems play in their environment, architectural language and its people. It looks at ways to create a Plural Healthcare System that encourages sustainable healing and social integration in its cities. It additionally, highlights the importance of including traditional healthcare practices that have been marginalised in the healthcare sector to enrich the possibilities of what a South African healthcare centre could be. The research also aims to explore how the symbiosis between western and traditional medicine can establish a more sustainable environment? The objective is also to investigate, through architectural design, whether a hybrid healthcare centre can mitigate an approved integration of environmental considerations and architectural expression and functionality
A design project submitted to the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional) July 2021