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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 521-526

Unique collaboration of modern medicine and traditional faith-healing for the treatment of mental illness: Best practice from Gujarat

1 Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India
2 Hospital for Mental Health, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
3 Altruist, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
4 District Panchayat, Chotaudepur, Gujarat, India
5 District Panchayat, Morbi, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Somen Saha
Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar Opp. Opposite Air Force Headquarters, Near Lekawada Bus Stop, Gandhinagar-Chiloda Road, Lekawada, P.O. CRPF Camp-382042, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_979_19

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Background and Aims: Modern psychiatry brings tremendous value to the treatment of mental illness, however, at times is inadequate in providing holistic care within a patient's broader cultural framework. Traditional healing and modern psychiatry together offer a comprehensive, patient-centred approach to treatment, which encompass a patient's spiritual and religious beliefs. In this context, “Dava-Dua” intervention—combination of psychiatric medicine and faith healing—is implemented by the Government of Gujarat at Mira Data Dargah in Mehsana District. The study assesses intervention outcomes, understand implementation challenges and patients' perspectives on the treatment. Methods: Using a multi-method research approach, case records from July 2008 to March 2018 were retrieved for secondary analysis of patients' profile and outcomes; 26 patients from three groups: Dava, Dua and Dava-Dua; and 6 mental health service providers were interviewed to assess perspectives of patients and service providers on mental health, implementation barriers and facilitators. Results: Despite some implementation challenges, the findings indicate that collaboration of modern psychiatry medicine and faith-based treatment practices certainly benefit patients with otherwise limited access to mental health care thereby protects human rights of patients. Conclusion: Dava-Dua model compliments existing primary healthcare services. It provides an access to modern medicine without compromising patients' religious and spiritual practices. It has the potential to scale-up and replicate where faith-healing is the prime treatment modality to cure mental illness provided implementation challenges are proactively addressed.

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