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Policy and evaluation perspectives on traditional health practitioners in national health care systems

By Barbara L. K. Pillsbury

Abstract

After much resistance by physicians and health planners to traditional practitioners, international policy has recently shifted to support their inclusion in modern-sector health care programs. Governments in several dozen countries now utilize midwives in official health and family planning programs but, with only a few exceptions, continue to resist incorporating traditional healers into the national health care system. Bureaucratic and sociological reasons for this are discussed and recommendations are made for more balanced evaluation of the traditional practitioner components that have been developed in national and other health care systems.

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