African Medicine is the traditional form of healing of indigenous African people. Estimates show over 200 000 traditional healers exist in South Africa and up to 80% of the population consult these healers even if also using western medical services. There are varying categories of traditional healers. In South Africa we have 'inyangas' or herbalists, then we have sangomas who are trained to communicate with the spirit world through their ancestors, and we have traditional midwives and surgeons. Modern traditional healers use African, Western and Chinese herbs in combination with diet, exercise, hydrotherapy, counselling, vitamin/mineral supplementation, first aid and 'piercing' (African acupuncture). Traditional healers are established health care workers within the community. Their role in primary health care is being formalised by governmental recognition and registration of the service they provide.
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