Mental disorder has been one of the major concerns in the health care delivery system as more people come down with mental illness every day and there has also been a rapid expansion of allopathic health care. In Anambra State, these traditional healers are available but there is however, limited information on the explanatory models and consequent treatment practices among them. The main purpose of the study was to determine the explanatory models and treatment practices among the traditional healers in Anambra State. The study was guided by three research questions and four hypotheses. Descriptive cross sectional survey research design was used to explore the explanatory models and treatment practices in Anambra State. Population of the study were 135 traditional healers registered with Ministry of Health, Anambra State.The instrument for data collection was a researcher-developed structured interview guide on Explanatory Models and Treatment Practices on Mental Disorders with reliability coefficient of 0.90. Data were analyzed using percentages, means and standard deviations which were used to answer the research questions and ANOVA was employed for testing of the hypotheses. Result of the study showed that there were no significant difference of most of the explanatory models based on gender and educational status as well as treatment practices and years of experience.However, there was a significant difference in the mean score of traditional healers’ treatment practices based on their educational status (p=0.000; p=0.002; p=0.02; p=0.04). The researcher therefore recommended that Traditional healers should be motivated and encouraged to register their clinics with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).


Title page
Table of content
List of tables

Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Purpose of the Study
Objectives of the study
Research Questions
Research Hypotheses
Significance of the Study
Scope of the Study
Operational Definitions of Terms

Conceptual Review
Concept of Mental Disorders
Concept of Explanatory Models of Mental Illness
Concept of Treatment Practices of Mental Illness
Concepts of Traditional Healers
Categories of Traditional Healers:
Ways of Examining Experimental Models
Types of Explanatory Models on Mental Illness
Advantages of Explanatory Models
Limitations in using the Explanatory Models
Theoretical Review
Theoretical explanation of causation of Mental Disorders
Biopsychosocial Model
Empirical Review
Summary of Reviewed literature

Research Design
Area of the Study
Population of the Study
Instrument for Data Collection
Validity of the Instrument
Reliability of the Instrument
Ethical Consideration
Procedure for Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis

            Data Analysis and Presentation
            Summary of Major Findings

            Discussion of Results
            Implications of the Study
            Limitations of the Study
            Suggestions for Further Research

Background to the Study
Mental disorder has been one of the major concerns in the health care delivery system as more people come down with mental illness every day. According to Nordquist (2009), it is estimated that about one in every five adults has some kind of mental disorder. He further cited that we all have the potential of suffering from mental health problems no matter how old we are, whether rich or poor, male or female or any ethnic group we belong and this often creates fear.

Mental disorderaccording to Canadian Mental Health Association (2014) are still feared and misunderstood by many people but the fear will disappear as people learn more about them. However, according to Kendler (2008), a more comprehensive explanation of a psychiatric disorder must include an understanding of the production of the key symptoms and signs underlying that disorder. Parts of these explanations will have to be framed in psychological terms. Genes and molecules will surely prove to be critical causes of schizophrenia and thus will explain important things about the disorder. But alone, they cannot explain it completely (Kendler, 2008). These explanations however can be in so many ways.

Henrique (2012) however identified five broad explanatory models of mental disorder which includes: spiritual; moral character; biological and neurophysiologic; learning and developmental or psychological; and sociological models. He however explained that the first and the oldest explanatory system for mental illness is the spiritual. He further explained that there is usually a religious narrative that explains that there are good and bad forces in the world  and that suffering is a function of either being possessed by the bad, or through the ideal that the afflicted have fallen out of favor with the good. According to Henrique (2012), mental disorder generally occurs because of sin or related concept of immoral behavior that leads to some form of badness or contamination and this often informs the reason why most of the clients prefer to visit traditional healers who use traditional medicine for their treatment.

Traditional medicine according to Adesina (2014) is a cultural gem of various communities around the world and encompasses all kinds of folk medicine, unconventional medicine, and indeed any kind of the therapeutic method that had been handed down by the tradition of the community or ethnic groups. Okeke, Okafor and Uzochukwu (2006) added that in Nigeria, traditional healers play an important role in the health care delivery and majority of the population depend on the traditional healers for most of their ailments.

In Nigeria, like most developing countries, mental health care (and health care in general) is still elusive to a significant proportion of the population. About 70% of the population live in rural areas while 30% live in urban areas. In contrast, 70% of the health facilities are in urban areas while 30% are in rural areas (Ajara, Makanjuola & Morakinyo, 2008). This seems to present a state of inequality of health distribution. Most of the populace still patronize traditional healers and spiritual healers; either because of poverty, poor accessibility to mental health facilities and hospital care, stigma or lack of belief in the efficacy of treatment received in these facilities regarding the cause of mental illness. Some of these reasons are also applicable to majority of those living in urban areas, irrespective of level of education. The peculiarity and importance of these alternative sources of mental health care has necessitated research into knowledge, attitude and practice of traditional mental health care treatment modalities and herbs in mental health practice classification and training of traditional healers and cost comparison of traditional mental health care versus care received from psychiatrists or other medical facilities (Ajara, Makanjuola & Morakinyo, 2008). WHO also noted that majority of the population, which is about 70-90%, depend on traditional medicine for their Primary Health Care needs. In many African and Asian countries, about 45% of the clients of the traditional healers are people suffering from mental disorders (Morny, 2012). Adesina, (2014) noted that traditional medicine has developed in various communities in Nigeria, in response to the health needs of people.....

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