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Theodore Randall

This article discusses the medically pluralistic character of malaria prevention and treatment-based health-seeking behaviour among the inhabitants of a predominantly Jola village in the Gambia, West Africa. Through the presentation of ethnographic data obtained between 2003 and 2004, the paper demonstrates that traditional health services - represented by traditional medical practitioners and medicinal plant usage - among the Jola appear as much, if not more accessible, available, affordable and acceptable than the biomedical services - represented by biomedical practitioners and antimalarial medication usage - provided by the Gambian government health system. This accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability occur to the extent that many of the villagers suggest that traditional health services become incorporated into the Gambian government health system. The need to integrate traditional and biomedical services becomes especially relevant given the existence of traditional services within the context of biomedical hegemony and limited Jola accessibility, availability and affordability of biomedical services.