1. Although many parts of Africa are "catching up" with the technological advances of the developed world in many spheres, including medical practice, traditional forms of treatment conspicuously exist side by side with orthodox treatment. 2. None of the few reports of clinical trials from different parts of Africa have taken into account the variations in the clinical presentation of mental disorders, the nutritional status and general physical health of African patient populations in their discussions of the effectiveness of psychotropic agents. 3. Research into traditional forms of treatment and the effectiveness of psychotropic agents in populations in different states of general health and nutrition is seen as a priority.