As more Nigerians patronise traditional bonesetters due partly to lower costs and its efficacy, the practice is gaining more clientele; yet the practitioners are pleading for government recognition and assistance to enable them improve their service delivery
When little Jamal fell and broke his ankle in school at the beginning of 2011, her mother could not think of a better place to take him than to a nearby private hospital in Agege, Lagos, where she had to deposit N8,000 before treatment could commence. But after few days of treatment with no visible sign of improvement, the disturbed mother, determined to get her son back on his feet, sought for an alternative.
On the recommendation of friends, she took Jamal to Yusuf Traditional Home, a traditional bone-setting centre in the same Agege, where he was admitted. At the home, Aliyu Yusuf and Ibrahim Sani, herbal doctors, who attended to Jamal, did not even demand a deposit before they commenced treatment. “They are considerate,” Jamal’s mother said.
But their kindness was not the only thing that immediately caught the attention of the distraught woman. Equally of interest was the spiritual dimension that they introduced into the treatment. Before touching Jamal’s broken bones, the herbal doctors first “talked” to their hands. In what appeared like a prayer session, they muttered some inaudible sounds before proceeding to touch the dislocated bones. That act, as inconsequential as it may appear to Jamal’s mother, was very important in the treatment process, says Sani. He explained that it would guide them into knowing the right way to trace the fracture and how to heal it. Though the little boy still brandished his bandaged leg as at the time the magazine visited the centre, the mother said, “He has greatly improved since we came here.”
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