ETHNOPSYCHIATRY OF THE NSUKKA IGBO OF SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA- AN ETHNOGRAPHIC SURVEY

ETHNOPSYCHIATRY OF THE NSUKKA IGBO OF SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA- AN ETHNOGRAPHIC SURVEY

ABSTRACT

There is a growing view that for more success in mental healthcare, a contextual approach is necessary either as stand alone or complimentary to the orthodox approach. In this inquiry, the autochthonous Nsukka psychiatric system was studied using ethnographic approach, and compared with orthodox health system. The principal data collection strategy used was the full participant observation technique. This was supplemented with focus group discussion and in-depth interview techniques. The results showed that although the Nsukka traditional health system has been overlain with the received social institutions and their attendant values, the personalistic element is still a decisive factor in their health seeking attitudes. Our findings seem to suggest that for a mental healthcare program to be culturally acceptable and to succeed among any group, it has to be built on a thorough knowledge of the specifics of their own peculiar socio-cultural patterns.