Traditional Healers ‘Indispensable’ in Fight Against AIDS in Africa
Traditional African healers -- tribal elders who use natural substances as disease treatments -- are "indispensable" in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The healers' high standing in their communities makes them "key mouthpiece[s]" for disseminating accurate information about the disease, according to the Monitor. The healers provide information about HIV transmission and help patients adhere to medication regimens. A 2001 study by the World Health Organization found that Zimbabwean healers' holistic approach and use of herbal medicine among HIV-positive patients produced "encouraging results." While most African countries have not officially recognized traditional healers as part of their national health programs, the $15 billion U.S. global AIDS bill, which President Bush signed into law last month, allows funding for healers who have been trained in standard clinical evaluation and medicine distribution to offer aid and advice in rural areas (Tzortzis, Christian Science Monitor, 6/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.