A community survey of traditional medical practitioners in high density suburbs of Harare
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Traditional medical practitioners (TMP) are an important part of the health system in Zimbabwe. The objective of this study was to determine, in the study area, their numbers, socio-demographic characteristics and clinical practice. A cross sectional community survey was conducted in two high density suburbs in Harare, Zimbabwe. A sampling frame of TMP was defined by means of a three stage community census (n = 189). A random stratified sample (n = 110) was interviewed with a semi-structured interview. Nearly half the TMP were not registered with formal organizations. Prophets were more likely to be Zimbabwean, Shona speaking, better educated, to have entered practice at a younger age, had fewer years of experience and charged less for consultations. Many TMP reported busy attendance at their clinics in the evenings or on weekends, but on average, most TMP see few patients. Few TMP specialized in physical disorder. Almost two thirds referred patients to formal medical services and most TMP wished to have greater collaboration with biomedical services.