Ontology-based model for integrating knowledge of modern and African traditional medicine
Angole, Okelo Richard
MetadataShow full item record
In African Societies; African Traditional Medicine is used in parallel to Modern Medicine. Modern Medicine use dominated African Traditional Medicine because of it structured nature of knowledge. African Traditional Medicine lacks formal structure of knowledge, practitioners work in isolation; each practitioner has his/her own terminologies and ways of providing healing services. Further, there is mistrust in African Traditional Medicine systems yet a lot of knowledge is generated in the practices which could be useful across the whole health sector. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop an Ontology-Based model integrating knowledge of Modern and African Traditional Medicine for effective treatment of illnesses. The study is rooted in pragmatic paradigms adopting a mixed method research design to generate requirements for modelling ontology of African traditional medicine. A total of two hundred thirty-seven (237) health workers were involved in the descriptive survey of which: physician (100) and nurses (137) and twenty-five traditional medicine experts were interviewed to further explore and confirm the requirements for the model. Basic formal ontology was selected as standard upper ontology for modelling the requirements determined. Development methodology used was MethOntology. Concepts from Basic Formal Ontology and Multi-Criteria Approach were used to provide a unifying design for Ontology Model of African Traditional Medicine. In coming up with African Traditional Medicine Ontology, we considered existing ontologies namely: Ontology of General Medical Science to align African Traditional Medicine Ontology. Medical terminologies were derived from Infectious Disease Ontology. The consideration of existing ontologies were to enable: (i) integration of African Traditional Medicine Ontology to existing ontologies, (ii) consistency checks with existing ontology hence acceptability and (iii) coming up with richer knowledge-base system. Ontology Model of African Traditional Medicine developed is capable of integrating with Modern Medicine Ontologies providing rich knowledge-base that suite the current demand of health. Therefore, African Traditional Medicine will be recognized, incorporated in health system and will never be isolated, and mistrusted as before.