Program Trains Ugandan Health Care Workers To Administer Acupuncture to People Living With HIV/AIDS, Boston Globe Reports
The Boston Globe on Monday examined the Brookline, Mass.-based Pan-African Acupuncture Project, a not-for-profit group that trains Ugandan health care workers to administer acupuncture to people living with HIV/AIDS (Jeltsen, Boston Globe, 7/16). There are about 1.1 million HIV-positive people in Uganda, and the number of cases is expected to increase to 1.8 million by 2012 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/29).
The program -- established in 2003 by Richard Mandell, an instructor at the New England School of Acupuncture -- was created in response to the "overwhelming" number of people living with the disease in the country, the Globe reports. To train students on acupuncture techniques, Mandell wrote a manual with simplified instructions that teaches students how to find acupuncture points on the body and how to use needles. The manual allows students to practice acupuncture even if they do not understand why a point on the body correlates with a particular disorder or illness, the Globe reports. According to NIH, acupuncture significantly helps relieve chronic insomnia and diarrhea, two symptoms often experienced by HIV-positive people.
According to Mandell, introducing acupuncture in developing countries such as Uganda has many benefits, including economic ones. Providing acupuncture treatment to one person once weekly for one month in the country -- where the average annual salary is $280 -- costs $6, Mandell said. The program has trained 120 Ugandan health care workers in three districts, the Globe reports. Mandell said he hopes to expand the program to Malawi and other African countries (Boston Globe, 7/16).