February 21, 2017

Ancient remedies, new disease: involving traditional healers by Rachel King

By Rachel King

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Additional resources for Ancient remedies, new disease: involving traditional healers in increasing access to AIDS care and prevention in East Africa

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He was soon appointed an adviser to the newly formed traditional healer organization. Prior to working in Kashari, he was also working with the Mbarara University Mental Health programme. It also collaborated with traditional healers, and he noted that most patients with mental illness consulted traditional healers. He explained his motivation for collaborating with healers by simply stating that they have many patients and those patients are also ‘our patients’. ” Healers also refer patients to him because they know him.

The seriousness of the programme and the way THETA is following up with the healers have inspired him. “You feel you are working with people who are enthusiastic about what they are doing,” he says. Additional training outcomes . . Traditional healers have reduced the charges for their services. They are honest, and ask for reasonable money compared to the previous exorbitant charges, which showed greed. —Community Interviewer, Kiboga, THETA Evaluation Report, 1998 As a result of the training, 70% of traditional healers have improved the hygiene of their work places.

There are five people, men and women, young and old, waiting inside, and two outside. A grey-haired man is kneeling in front of the healer, finishing his consultation. The healer explains how to use the herbs and notes in his record book what the patient is suffering from, the name of the herb given and the dosage. A woman with a baby goes to wait in the ‘examination room’. The traditional doctor is old by Ugandan standards—67 years—and he has grey hair and wears a white coat, implying that he deserves respect.

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