Exploring patient referral practices of traditional healthcare practitioners in Soshanguve, Gauteng Province, South Africa

Eugene Musiiwa Makhavhu*, Mmajapi Elizabeth Masala-Chokwe, Tendani Sara Ramukumba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction: It may be necessary for healthcare professionals to refer patients to other professionals and institutions that are able to provide the care needed by patients, depending on the severity each case presents, healthcare requirements, and resources available to offer care. In healthcare generally, patient referral is standard procedure; however, in South Africa, referral patterns between allopathic and traditional healthcare practitioners are unknown, and this is a problem yet to be addressed. Objectives: The study objective was to explore patient referral practices from the perspectives of traditional healthcare practitioners of South Africa. Methods: A qualitative, exploratory and descriptive design was employed to collect data from 11 traditional healthcare practitioners who were sampled using snowball sampling. An individual semi structured interview schedule was used to collect data. Content analysis was used to analyze the data. Results: Patient referral was common practice in traditional health practices, however not reciprocal between the traditional and allopathic healthcare. Several indications for patient referral to allopathic healthcare practitioners included management of chronic conditions amongst others. Discussion: Patient referral being an important part of healthcare practices should be promoted and regulation and traditional health practices improved to promote safe referral practices and curb unsafe self-referrals by patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-280
Number of pages7
JournalAfrican Health Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • allopathic healthcare
  • patient referral
  • referral system
  • traditional healthcare


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