Reuters UK Examines Program That Aims To Involve Traditional Healers in HIV/AIDS CareReuters UK on Monday examined a program run by the African Medical and Research Foundation in South Africa that aims to involve traditional healers in HIV/AIDS treatment and care. According to AMREF, more than two-thirds of people in rural parts of Africa consult traditional healers before visiting clinics. Traditional healers also are "revered and trusted in rural communities and play multiple roles as spiritual guide, healer and counselor," according to Reuters UK. The AMREF program aims to encourage traditional healers to continue providing spiritual advice and basic health care, as well as to use their "influence and authority to promote HIV testing and modern medicine in areas where many people are distrustful of hospitals, clinics" and antiretroviral drugs, Reuters UK reports.
"Obviously, there is not a traditional healer who can cure AIDS, but they can help treat the symptoms and help support patients by giving them what they want to believe," Tryphina Ngwenya, a traditional healer involved in the AMREF program, said. Ngwenya added that more needs to be done to involve traditional healers in HIV/AIDS treatment and care. About 200,000 healers practice in South Africa, and organizations like AMREF have "trained just a handful," according to Reuters UK (Harrison, Reuters UK, 6/4). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.