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Objectives: To assess the knowledge, practice and attitude of traditional mental health
practitioners (TMHPs) in four 1,ocal Government Areas (L.GAs) in Kwara State, Nigeria, on
mental health care; to organise training sessions aimed at ~mproving their knowledge base,
practice and; to evaluate such training after allowing for a period of practice.
Study design/intervention: Pre-training evaluation phase: 'I'MHPs were assessed in the area
of knowledge, attitude and practice of mental health, with the use of a questionnaire. They
were then trained in the coricepts of normality and abnormality, types of mental illness,
treatment of mental illrles5 including follow up, after-care, relapse prevention, other
primary preventive measures, and some introductory talks on some sub-specialties of
psychiatry, for example, child psychiatry, old age psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, drug and
alcohol abuse and; after a free-practice period of two months, the TMHPs were again reassessed
for the impact of the training.
Results: Pre-intervention phase: TMHPs could easily recognise most symptoms of mental
illness except undue sadness. The TMHPs also expressed 5trong belief in the supernatural
factor as a cause of mental illnes.;. Some of them beat their patients for therapeutic reasons
and; Post-intervention phase: there was a widening of the sense of recognition of TMHPs of
important mental symptom5 such as undue sadness, social withdrawal and elation. There
was a better understanding of the aetiological concepts of mental illness. There was also a
reduction in the habit of beating their patients as a form crf treatment.
Conclusions: The use of information, education and communication intervention techniques
could lead to more positive and less hazardous forms of practice among TMHPs and; The
high level of cooperation achieved in this study would indicate a bright chance for future
collaborative activities between orthodox and traditional healthcare providers.

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