Popular Healing and Primary Health Care: A Socio-Cultural Study in Rural North-Eastern Ethiopia



Abstract Introduction: Studies have shown that popular healing practices at home could play a major role in solving the problem of overcrowding in primary care services. This study explored the indigenous popular healing practices used by communities in North Eastern Ethiopia. Methodology: A qualitative ethnographic method was used for this study. Using Kleinman’s Cultural Systems Model, we conducted participatory observation (5 months during the span of one year) supplemented by ten focus group discussions (n=96) and 20 key informant interviews with purposefully selected knowledgeable community members. The focus group and key informant interviews included questions about the popular healing as a health care option and popular modes of healing practices. The process of analysis and interpretation was informed by thematically and the analysis of narratives strategies. Findings: The study found that home remedies are applied for both prevention and remedial purposes. Common ailments that are managed at home include Nedad (malaria) and Mich (acute febrile illness). Home remedies are prepared in the household by the patient, his/her parent or a family member. However, in cases where home remedies and/or home-based treatment did not cure a patient, other alternatives are looked for such as visiting a bio-medical care facility following a similar model developed by Kleinman in early 1980’s. Conclusion: Since people in the study communities believe that popular healing is a health care option among multiple health-care resources, successful rural primary health care strategy would give due attention to such local resources. This will help to ensure the optimal utilization of Ethiopia’s limited resources. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2016;30(1):29-43] Key Words: Popular healing, home remedies, ailments, primary health care, Ethiopia



How to Cite

Kahissay, M. H., Fenta, T. G., & Boon, H. (2016). Popular Healing and Primary Health Care: A Socio-Cultural Study in Rural North-Eastern Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 30(1). Retrieved from https://ejhd.org/index.php/ejhd/article/view/488

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