A diverse group of Medical undergraduate students from UKZN had a unique cultural awareness experience when lecturers and Professor Neil Prose, a visiting Fulbright Scholar from Duke University in the United States, took to the local Traditional Healers’ Market and a mosque as part of a cross-cultural communication lesson.

The first of its kind in the MBChB programme, the initiative was Prose’s brainchild, aimed at addressing common cross-cultural communication challenges that arise during the doctor/patient consultation.

Students were encouraged to interact and engage as much as they can with each other’s cultures in the hope that such “cultural curiosity” will make them better doctors in the near future.

Each member of the group was given R10 pocket money to go out and consult for specific muthi (medication) sold by traditional healers at the market. They had to find out where the muthi is from and which ailment it is used to treat.

‘I knew people consult traditional healers but I didn’t know it was such a huge industry,’ said Lache Pretorius, a student in the MBChB programme.

‘It was so eye-opening. It’s a completely different world that we didn’t know existed,’ said Khadeeja Manjra, also a student.

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