Knowledge and Practices of Sagpat Women on Indigenous Healing and Reproductive Health

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R. S. Batani M. D. Gapasin B. Sa-ao H. Bolislis G. Taag R. Sa-ao T. Sagandoy L. Samonte A. S. Cuyan


The study looked into the knowledge and practices on indigenous healing throughout the life cycle of women respondents in barangay Sagpat, municipality of Kibungan, Benguet, Philippines. Using key informant interviews and group interviews, 23 purposively selected women were asked on their worldviews on indigenous healing, their knowledge and use of medicinal plants as well as their practices related to diagnosing, curing, and preventing illnesses. The perceived effects of indigenous Knowledge on their health and we/I-being were ascertained too.

Results showed that women of Sagpat have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to indigenous healing systems - both homegrown and traditional. The engagement of the services of traditional healers and the use and propagation of medicinal herbs are being observed among women respondents. and knowledge of these are also openly being shared through their informal networks. The belief on traditional healers as litigators for offended spirits to affect a cure is strong. This is rooted on their views on the causes of ill health and the prevention and cure of such. Indigenous knowledge on healing is believed to have come from "Kabunian" as a 'gift' and one way of transmitting such 'gift' is through dreams.

Interesting data also pointed out that throughout the reproductive cycle of women; it is replete with taboos on food and diet as well as beliefs and practices related to conception up to the post natal stage. Specifically during birthing stage, men's role figure as birthing attendants. Documented too, were several birthing positions women take and believed to be much more convenient for the woman than the conventional hospital birthing positions.

The study pointed out that the indigenous and homegrown healing systems are still the most workable and viable health alternative, in a resource poor setting ..

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