Traditional medical practices in some somali communities

Published in Vol. IV Studies in Humanities and Natural Sciences “Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Somali Studies”, 1983

Authors: Hassan Ismail Yusuf, Abdulaziz Sharif Adan, Kassim Adan Egal, Abdurahman Haji Omar, Maryam Mohammed Ibrahim, Abdulahi Sheikh Elmi


Traditional healing has been practiced in Somalia since times immemorial. It has actually been the only medical system accessible to the vast majority living in the rural areas. Even in the bigger towns and cities, treatment is usually given by the traditional healer to whom many types of health problems are referred. Somali traditional medicine has many branches to which different types of treatment are sought for different kind of diseases. Herbal medicine still remains one of the widely practiced branches. Traditional Somali orthopedians are well known for their skill and competence in reducing fractures. The use of religious acts in the process of curing is widespread.

The traditional medicine is important since much could be learnt, improved and later incorporated into the overall health care dilivery of the developing countries. Few studies have been made in the eastern part of Africa. To contribute to the knowledge of such a practice and to train medical students in field Research the Department of Community Health of the Medical Faculty in Magadishu conducted this study in some Somali communities from January to June 1981. Results are reported in this article.

Material kindly provided by the Roma 3 University's Somali Archive

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