Michael Eastman

Academic Year: 
To Yale
Exchange Partners: 
University of Cape Town
Research Interest: 
South African Law, Traditional African Healers And Health Care In the 21St Century

Mr. Eastman will conduct a legal investigation into potential policy and legislative approaches toward traditional African healers. While South Africa has 35,000 doctors who practice in the conventional biomedical system, 300,000 traditional African healers serve the medical needs of the majority of the South African population. These healers usually practice a combination of religious, spiritual and supernatural techniques in conjunction with the application of herbal remedies, spells, charms and ancestor consultation. There has been little monitoring or regulation of these healing techniques nor has there been an increase in the quantity, quality and accessibility of clinical evidence to support claims of safety and efficacy of traditional remedies. Within the WHO, there has been a movement toward monitoring of traditional practices as well as improving access to all forms of healthcare. Mr. Eastman s research will focus on the role, if any, that traditional healers should play in South Africas formal healthcare system. He will also investigate the regulation of traditional medicines.