Traditional healing and alternative healthcare practices within the rehabilitation professions in South Africa

Moola, Najeebah
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Traditional healing and alternative healthcare (THAH) practices have been utilised for centuries, to treat and alleviate illnesses. THAH play a significant role in the culture of South Africans. The bio psychosocial-spiritual model of healthcare recommends holistic care. Despite the existing policies from the South African government supporting the integration of THAH into the biomedical health system, there is limited research regarding rehabilitation professional’s interconnectedness with THAH practices. The main aim of this study was to explore the interconnectedness between THAH and medical rehabilitation professions in South Africa. This study followed a qualitative research design using electronic questionnaire surveys which were purposefully sent to rehabilitation professionals. Fifty-five participants responded. The framework analysis revealed the following themes from participants: perceiving and experiencing THAH as positive, negative or ambiguous. The participants who perceived THAH as a positive aspect in healthcare also integrate THAH in their assessments and referral process. Eleven of these participants utilised THAH themselves. Thirty-nine participants believed that THAH should be integrated into the biomedical health system. The participants who perceive THAH negatively do not enquire about client’s use of THAH. Forty-nine participants are unsure about the healthcare policies related to THAH. Forty-four participants suggested that university training and continuous professional development courses should incorporate THAH. Awareness and in-depth information of THAH is necessary within the rehabilitation profession in the South African context. There is interconnectedness between rehabilitation professionals and THAH practitioners however, this is minimal and limited. Dearth of research is needed for future studies regarding THAH.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Audiology to the Faculty of Humanities, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, 2021