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ISSN: 0331-4111
Volume 16, No. 2  (2018)


Continuity and Change in the Practice of Traditional Medicine in Modern Nigeria

B.E. Owumi, V.I. Kolo,  A.A. Obemeata & B.M. Adesokan

Department of Sociology University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria



Traditional Medicine (TM) is the indigenous system by which different societies provide health care for her members. It developed based on the cultural conception of health and illness, and therapeutic materials that abound in the physical environment of a people. TM involves preventive, diagnostic and curative approaches that do not necessarily align with the methods of modern science. With a pre-historic origin, TM has culminated in its present form through various evolutionary processes including innovation and invention. The system has continued to thrive in modern-day Nigeria, in spite of modernization and advances in western medical science and technology. This is not without modification and adjustments in the bid to adapt to the challenges of modern times. This paper presents theoretical views on observable changes and continuity in the practice of traditional medicine in Nigeria. Guided by the general systems theory (GST), this paper implicates TM’s inherent capacity to adapt to the challenges of each epoch of human development, while aligning with societal constructions about health, illness and healing. Recommendations emanating from the paper will advance strategies for leveraging on the current state of affairs of TM, towards improved access to healthcare for the benefit of the generality of Nigerians.

Keywords:    Traditional, medicine, change, continuity, Nigeria

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