Traditional Healers (mor pheun baan) in Southern Thailand: The Barriers for Cooperation With Modern Health Care Delivery Academic Article uri icon


  • Although the cooperation between modern and traditional medicine (TM) is increasingly promoted in health care system of nationwide, there remains many barriers. In this study, we examined the barriers and possible ways of promoting cooperation between traditional healers and modern health system. Ethnographic method including participant observations, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and unobtrusive methods were employed for data collection. Sixty six key participants of six stakeholders participated in this study. There are many barriers existing in relation to promote the legal role of traditional healers. This is because modern and traditional healers recognise health legalities differently. Modern health professionals try to motivate and require traditional healers to meet their standards, whereas traditional healers face integration difficulties and resist those approaches; rather, they are concerning with preserving their own traditions. Their traditional health practices do not meet the "best practice" standards necessary for them to gain the trust of modern doctors. Importantly, the licensing issue is key barrier creating difficulties for traditional healers. However, traditional healers are recognised for their benefit role in health care if cooperated with modern health professions. To make cooperation possible, all stakeholders need to understand cultural beliefs of traditional healers relating to cooperation with modern medicine. Supporting power for promotion of cooperation at the community level is the key strategy to suit community needs and contexts. In addition, cooperation requires clarification of the responsibilities of all stakeholders at the local and central levels.

publication date

  • June 2011