Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This dissertation argues that in Nigeria’s Igboland, a health care ethic reflective of the Roman Catholic Christian faith must build links between the rightful practices of both conventional Western medicine and traditional Igbo healers. It calls such a health care ethic an “integral health care ethic” in the Nigerian Igbo context.The inspiration for this dissertation comes from the growing respect given to indigenous people and their knowledge by the Roman Catholic Church since the Second Vatican Council and, more specifically, the attention Pope Francis has given to indigenous people in his writings and speeches. For example, in his remarks on today’s environmental crisis, Pope Francis called for greater dialogue between Western science and indigenous people’s ecological knowledge and wisdom as one of the elements of his vision for an “integral ecology.” Can the mutually beneficial dialogue Pope Francis encourage between Western science and indigenous people’s knowledge broaden to include a dialogue between Western methods of health care and traditional healing practices of indigenous people? That, precisely, is the dissertation’s central question, with a specific focus on the relationship between conventional Western medicine in Igboland, Nigeria, and Igbo traditional healers’ indigenous curative practices. This dissertation answers the above question in the affirmative. It explores how the Western scientific knowledge in health care and the Igbo indigenous healing knowledge and skills can collaborate to achieve integral health care analogous to Pope Francis’ integral ecology in Laudato Si. It engages the combined moral compasses of the Igbo ube nwanne and the Western ethics of care to adequately link the indigenous healing practices and Western health care methodology to achieve sustainable, socio-ethical, and integral health care in Igboland. Linking ube nwanne and Western ethics of care ensures adequate collaboration, mutual adaptation, standardization, information sharing, and trust needed to achieve integral health care in Igboland. The dissertation proceeds in four chapters, preceded by an introduction, and ends with a summary and conclusion of the work.As interest in the collaboration between Igbo traditional healing practices and Western biomedical or orthodox medical practice continues to grow, the need for integral health care becomes more urgent. Therefore, future research will seek to foster this alliance between the two health care systems and make integral health care more readily available, accessible, and affordable to those who need it for their health care and well-being.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.