Interfacing traditional/local herbalist and global biomedical practitioners in Botswana
B. N. NGWENYA, W. R. L. MASAMBA AND N. KANYENVA, UNIVERSITY OF BOTSWANA, BOTSWANA
Abstract: This paper reports analysis of primary data collected from 16 herbalists and medicines they dispense to their patients to treat different ailments in Maun, Botswana. Maun village is near the Okavango Delta where many different species of plants are found. Data was collected through face-to-face interviews, unobtrusive participant observation and semi structured interviews with key informants. The study found that herbalists in Maun used at least 43 plant species in traditional medicines. Some herbalists considered themselves as general practitioners and others regard themselves as specialists. The study concludes that to some extent, herbalists attempt to ‘marry’ modern health practices and technology, conversely, their patients are equally pluralistic service consumers of both health care systems. The study recommends that the government put in place a policy framework for official recognition and professionalisation of herbalist, facilitate allocation of resources and set the parameters to facilitate mutually beneficial cooperation between herbalists and biomedicine.
Keywords: Ethnobotany, Ethnomedicine, Traditional healers/herbalist, Biomedicine, Medicinal plants, HIV/AIDS, Okavango Delta, Sustainable development