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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 369--372

African cultural concept of death and the idea of advance care directives


1 Department of University Health Service (Jaja Clinic), University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Rabi Ilemona Ekore
Department of University Health Service (Jaja Clinic), University of Ibadan, Ibadan
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.191741

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An advance care directive is a person's oral or written instructions about his or her future medical care, if he or she becomes unable to communicate. It may be in written or oral form. Africans ordinarily do not encourage the contemplation of death or any discussion about their own or their loved ones' death. According to the African belief system, life does not end with death, but continues in another realm. Becoming an ancestor after death is a desirable goal of every individual, a feat which cannot be achieved if an individual asks for an unnatural death by attempting to utilize advance care directives. Advance care directives are considered to be too individualistic for communitarian societies such as Africa. Coupled with the communitarian nature of African societies are issues such as lack of awareness of advance directives, fear of death and grief, and the African cultural belief system, which are potential barriers to the utilization of advance care directives in the African setting. Hence, the need for culture sensitivity which makes it imperative that patient's family and loved ones are carried along as far as possible, without compromising the autonomy of the patient in question when utilizing advance care directives.






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