Background: The indigenous health care system continues in the postcolonial era to be perceived by antagonists as a threat to Western medicine. It has been associated with 'witchcraft', actively discouraged and repressed through official government prohibition laws. Despite that, human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV and AIDS) patients consult both allopathic and indigenous health practitioners. Aim: The study explored a collaboration model between allopathic and traditional health practitioners in the management of patients living with HIV and AIDS in postcolonial South Africa. Setting: We conducted six combined focus group discussions and four separate group discussions with each category of co-researchers. Methods: Combined and separate focus group discussions were conducted with community members, allopathic and indigenous health practitioners, applying the cyclical method in the decolonisation process. Their perceptions and experiences in the management of HIV and AIDS patients were explored, and finally decolonisation strategies suitable for collaboration in their context were identified. Results: The two health systems were rendering services to the same HIV and AIDS communities. Lack of communication created confusion. Collaboration was long overdue. A change in mindsets, attitudes and practices among practitioners was critical, with an acknowledgement that 'neither health system is better than the other, but the two should be complementary, recognising that the culture and beliefs of patients influence their health-seeking behaviour'. Conclusion: Co-researchers were committed to working together in the fight against HIV and AIDS infections. Their model for collaboration addresses the challenges of patients' secrecy, treatment overdose and the abandonment of antiretroviral treatment. Through the application of a decolonisation process, their mindsets, attitudes and practices towards each other were changed, enabling the joint development of a custom model for collaboration between allopathic health practitioners and indigenous health practitioners in the management of patients living with HIV and AIDS.
|Journal||African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - 28 May 2018|