Presentation on theme: " Several years prior to colonial contacts, local people across African indigenous communities, including Nigeria, had coped with and managed the threat."— Presentation transcript:
Several years prior to colonial contacts, local people across African indigenous communities, including Nigeria, had coped with and managed the threat of malaria using indigenous knowledge of medicine (IKM). However, IKM was discountenanced and became an object of ridicule under the colonial tutelage across African societies, including Nigeria, based on the belief that it was ‘unscientific’ and ‘backward’.
However, the use of IKM has continued to thrive and blossom in African most populous country, Nigeria, especially among local people who have lived in or very close to the forests where the ingredients for IKM are readily available without a cost. Thus, this study examined local perceptions of the forest and management of malaria in rural Nigeria.
Study Area Okanle and Fajeromi in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, Nigeria. Data gathered in 2009 with a follow-up in 2010. An update was carried out in May 2013. Both communities are rich in forest resources where livelihood depends. Data Collection Techniques Semi-Structured Interview (20), IDIs (10), FGDs (2) Sampling Techniques Purposive Non-probability Data Analysis Techniques Content Analysis
The locals are emotionally, spiritually and culturally attached to the forests. The locals perceived the forests as a major part of their livelihood, identity and well-being. A Community leader said: “Our people here have benefitted from the forests over the years. To the east and west they are blessings of God to us. I have seen a lot of people benefitting from them. This is where we farm and hunt for animals of all kinds. To me, the forest is a place where people get food when they have no food. It is where they get meat when they have no meat. As you can see people here are poor. We depend on these forests for survival.”.
Following positive attitude towards the forests, especially as sources of wellbeing and health, treatment of diseases like malaria episode in children usually commences at home with herbal medicines generally known as oogun-ibile or agbo-ibile with most parents ignoring the modern health facilities located within the community.
Statements such as “everybody in this village knows that I don’t take my children to the hospital when they have malaria” and that “most modern drugs are extracts from local trees and plants” are testimonies to the perceived efficacies of local plants. Almost everybody in the village is a “healer” as reported by a 70 year old grandfather. According to him:
“ almost everybody in this village is a ‘healer’. We all know the kind of leaves, plants or root to assemble to treat malaria either in children or adult ”.
The most frequently mentioned plants and leaves were: Dogonyaro (Azadirachta indica); Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citrates); Akintola (Chromolaena odorata); Cashew leaves and nuts (Anacardium occidentale); Pawpaw (Carica papaya); Mango leaves, orange leaves; and Panseke.
Reports have shown that of the 34 African countries that have updated their national drug formularies to reflect WHO’s recommendations of the Artemisinin-based Combination Therapies (ACTs) (Stratton et al. 2008: 859), only eleven of them are distributing ACTs through the public health sector - one on which many people depend (WHO, 2010: xi).
Therefore, since it seems that the modern health care system has failed to deal with the problem of malaria adequately, evidence available suggests that IKM might hold the key to affordable, cheaper and better alternative therapies to malaria treatment in developing countries like Nigeria which needs to be explored and not ignored.
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