Current status of traditional mental health practice in Ilorin Emirate Council area, Kwara State, Nigeria.


Twenty-seven traditional mental health practitioners (TMHPs) and 16 patients' relatives (PR) were studied with a view to gaining an understanding of the current status of traditional mental health practice in five local government areas in Ilorin Emirate Council Area, Kwara State, Nigeria. Data was collected using Practitioners' Questionnaire (PQ), Patients' Relatives' Questionnaire (PRQ), Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and observation of TMHPs in their clinics. Factors which affect utilization of traditional mental health services were also reviewed. We found that TMHPs still enjoy considerable patronage from the populace, are more in numerical strength, and are more widely and evenly dispersed in the community than orthodox mental health practitioners (OMHPs). About 74% of TMHPs expressed interest in attending seminars aimed at improving their skills. Most of the patients' relatives expressed the belief that only traditional healers can understand the supernatural aetiological basis of mental disorders, and can therefore offer more effective care than OMHPs. Some of the negative practices observed were (i) infliction of corporal punishment and physical restraints on patients by some TMHPs resulting in wounds, which often become septic (ii) low level of hygiene at the clinics and (iii) lack of adequate follow-up care. In conclusion, since TMHPs still play a major role in the treatment of the mentally ill in this environment, OMHPs should assist them in improving on some of the negative practices identified. Thus, there is an urgent need to organize a training programme for TMHPs to expose them to the general rules of hygiene in medical care, basic principles of orthodox mental health practice, including human treatment of the mentally ill.

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@article{Makanjuola2000CurrentSO, title={Current status of traditional mental health practice in Ilorin Emirate Council area, Kwara State, Nigeria.}, author={Alfred Banso Makanjuola and Moruf Lanrewaju Adelekan and Olufemi Morakinyo}, journal={West African journal of medicine}, year={2000}, volume={19 1}, pages={43-9} }