Herbalists and their Mode of Health Care Service Delivery in Debre Markos Town, Northwest Ethiopia
The administration of medicinal plants for treating human ailments is an age-old practice. Although several studies have been conducted, most of them focused on documentation of the medicinal plants and herbal knowledge. This study investigated why people use herbal medicine, from what conviction, and explains how the plants are collected, prepared and put to purpose. In order to get deeper information about the issue, both primary and secondary sources are consulted. Observation, semi structured interviews, and key informant interviews were used to collect the primary data.15 herbalists were used as informants to obtain information on knowledge acquisition, plant collection, drug preparation, preservation and administration. The study found that healers got the wisdom of herbal medicine from family; friends or relatives; as gift of God; and religious books. The study also uncovered that people visit herbal healers because of cost, cultural acceptability, easy accessibility, and dissatisfaction with modern medicine. Herbal healers are providing health services for a huge segment of the populations’ in spite of several challenges. Dominance of biomedicine, proliferation of quack healers, inheritance problems, absence of support from government authorities, and deforestation stand out as the major challenges for the progress and the very existence of indigenous medicine in general and herbal healers in particular.
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