A new day of liveblogging from the World Library and Information (IFLA) Conference taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. Management of Indigenous Knowledge in Primary Healthcare: Bridging the Gap between Library and Alternative Healthcare Practitioners in Nigeria was a paper presented by Ebijuwa Adefunke (Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria). The setting is an inland state in Nigeria. Here the traditional doctors are important providers of healthcare, with knowledge orally transmitted through generations. The speaker saw libraries as agents of access, development and transformation, and this involved developing the role of librarians too.
She quoted the the World Bank's definition of indigenous knowledge.(IK) She defined traditional healthcare as derived science. In Nigeria 80% use traditional herbs as primary health care. Traditional healthcare providers are custodians of IK sytems. However these healthcare providers do not necessarily think of the sustainability of the herbs they use.
Adefunke identified the role of the library in preserving IK for the future, helping to manage it, so that it is not lost. Therefore she has done a study to idenify the needs and means of preserving this knowledge. 400 heathcare providers had questionnaires administered. Most were male, some had formal education, documentation was through writing in books, and preservation was mainly through storytelling and oral instruction. Barriers include language, illiteracy and financial barriers. There was also reluctance to share with outsiders. Ways out for libraries were seeing as identifying with practitioners, collaborating with them and demonstrating the need to the communities. Alternative healthcare providers could be trained in systematic management of traditional knowledge.
There is a paper at http://library.ifla.org/1145/