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Involving traditional healers in AIDS education and counselling in sub-Saharan Africa: a review.

Authors
  • King, R1
  • Homsy, J
  • 1 Médecins Sans Frontières-Switzerland in Kampala, Uganda. , (Switzerland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
AIDS
Publisher
Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer) - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Volume
11 Suppl A
Identifiers
PMID: 9451988
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Traditional healers are the preferred and most accessible care providers in Africa. The AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa has stimulated interest on the part of modern biomedical health practitioners in collaboration with these traditional healers. The literature includes numerous studies of healers' perceptions of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. On the basis of study findings, healers have been trained as educators and counselors to disseminate HIV/AIDS information and prevention practices among their peers and communities. This article reviews the initial outcomes and challenges of such new initiatives in Zambia, Uganda, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Central African Republic. None of the projects has completed a comprehensive evaluation of the different approaches used and their real impact on the population served. Overall, however, the case studies indicate that traditional healers are capable of performing at least as well as their biomedical counterparts as AIDS educators and counselors. Of concern is the failure of many projects to provide systematic follow-up to healers after their initial training. Such follow-up is essential to support healers in dealing with unfamiliar issues such as condom use and death and dying.

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