Interfacing Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Access to Healthcare in SADC through the Millennium Development Goals
Keywords:Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), Millennium Development Goals (MDG), healthcare, Southern African Development Community (SADC)
There are eight health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the mandate of which is to ensure access to affordable healthcare for poor countries, especially in Africa. These MDGs were supposed to be reached by 2015, but six years have now passed with little success being realised. The cost of affordable medicines remains the main predicament for poor African countries. The focus of this paper is limited to the poor countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a part of sub-Saharan Africa. I have previously written on other measures that have been employed to improve access to medicine, for example pooled procurement used by a number of SADC countries. Unfortunately the vast rural nature of SADC member states makes it prohibitively impossible to reach every citizen, let alone convince them of the usefulness of Western healthcare. A number of scholars have written about southern Africa’s riches in the area of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) that directly relate to healthcare. It is thus the objective of this paper to argue that both efforts of using IKS and the modern healthcare system can complement each other in the quest for the realisation of better healthcare and quality of life for the citizens of southern Africa. This paper starts with a motivation to indicate why IKS and access to healthcare are related. An analysis of the eight related MDGs follows as a way of measuring how far these have been realised post the anticipated date in 2015. In this analysis, it is critical to unearth how IKS can be used in the realisation of solutions to these shortcomings.
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