The role of ‘African Chemists’ in the health care system of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa

Cocks, M.L. and Dold, A.P. (2000) The role of ‘African Chemists’ in the health care system of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Social Science & Medicine, 51 (10). pp. 1505-1515. ISSN 0277-9536



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Self-medication is documented as an integral part of health care therapy in developing countries such as Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda and Mexico. In South Africa the types of illnesses and health problems that are referred to both traditional healers and biomedical practices have been well documented. However, very little literature exists on self-diagnosis, self-medication or sources of the medicines used for self-medication. This bias in the literature has come about largely because anthropological studies have focused on the later stages of the illness referral system when treatment is sought from a specialist for symptoms which have not responded to forms of self-medication. As a result of this, health care studies have documented the more exceptional exotic healing rituals and culturally bound syndromes of a particular society or community, and not discussed the more ordinary practices of self-medication of everyday illness. Self-medication is however an important initial response to illness and many illnesses are successfully managed at this stage. Amayeza stores (singular-iyeza store) — or ‘African chemists’ — are an important source of medicines for self-diagnosed illnesses. The current discussion focuses on the types of medicines and treatments that are obtained from amayeza stores without professional consultation in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:traditional medicine; African chemists; self-medication; Eastern Cape; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Botany
Research Institutes and Units > Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER)
ID Code:443
Deposited On:31 Oct 2006
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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