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Indigenous medicine and biomedical health care in fragile settings: insights from Burundi

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Taking a collective learning research approach could generate more useful insights on this important issue. The fragmentation of practical medical knowledge suggests we can generate more progress by looking at medical knowledge as a nested set rather than as a hierarchy. At the moment, medical practice is researched and presented as competition between modern medical health practices and traditional medical practices, with an expectation for modern medicine to win this 'Olympic' competition.

Given that health issues are becoming more complex and messy, everyone is becoming their own researcher. There being several examples showing where traditional medical practice has treated health challenges that modern medicine will have failed to treat, people become convinced about the limitations of modern medicine and superiority of their traditional medical practice, in some circumstances. I have personally witnessed, traditional medical practice successfully treating mental health patients. 
The pros and cons in each of these practices means they cannot be researched with a pre-determined outcome in mind. It is better to take an open approach to the construction of health knowledge

Date of HIFA message: 
Monday, February 19, 2018
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Author Name: 
Charles Dhewa
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Charles Dhewa is the Chief Executive Officer of Knowledge Transfer Africa (Pvt) Ltd based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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