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Traditional Healers and HIV/ AIDS Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Umar, United States Jun 20, 2008
Health , HIV/AIDS   Opinions


67% of Ugandans reside in rural areas where modern healthcare services for HIV/ AIDS, other STDs and Malaria are scarce and far beyond their financial reach. The majority of these people are subsistence farmers earning less than $1 daily. With the above challenges, traditional medicine has given solace to millions of underprivileged individuals. Traditional healers far outnumber biomedical workers in the rural areas. They are consulted, not only because they are closer and more affordable than their Western-trained counterparts, but also because they are embedded, extensively and firmly, within Ugandan culture.

Traditional healers (THs) are highly respected and widely consulted by communities. Their role is fundamental in the fight against HIV/ AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Most funds and educational activities are earmarked for modern medical activities; there are currently few formal educational opportunities for traditional healers to improve their care and services to the population that already employs their expertise. In spite of their low levels of education and training, the burden of providing care and support in rural areas has been left solely to traditional health practitioners.

The practice of traditional medicine in my home district, Mpigi, has demonstrated the basic strategies for addressing most community health care needs. The clients enjoy a high degree of confidentiality when presenting HIV/ AIDS and other complications to traditional healers. My experience working with fellow THs has shown that THs, under their different specialties, attract a greater number of patients from the population. Their role is fundamental in the provision of primary health care to HIV/ AIDS and other patients in resource-poor settings.

However, much support and the provision of appropriate knowledge and skills to THs is urgently required so that they can fully play their role in availing primary health care to their patients. It is also worth noting that THs, whom the communities consult for information and treatment, organized well enough to deliver the most wanted health services. This has further frustrated efforts for collaboration and to develop a positive referral system between biomedical workers and Traditional Healers.

My home district, Mpigi, a rural area West of Kampala city, has approximately 467, 682 residents, of whom 98.5% reside in villages where modern health services and medicine are limited. The clinics and hospitals are understaffed and their services are out of the financial reach of most individuals. The ratio of doctors to residents in Mpigi is 1: 250, 000. The ratio of Traditional Healers to residents is 1:187. The health sector in rural Uganda, and Mpigi district in particular, has to a large extent been sustained and supported by indigenous traditional healers who are continually being consulted by the majority of the population.



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Rana | Aug 18th, 2008
we should change the wrong traditions in our community

Thumbs up
R Kahendi | Aug 9th, 2008
Umar, this is a great piece. I look forward to reading more articles about your experiences as a traditional healer and your perspective on health issues.

Adham Tobail | Aug 11th, 2008
But the subject is beautiful In his personal views should be no campaigns and awareness sessions and education of the population in that particular country to be preventive side, the side of the therapeutic Adham

Greatjob friend
Hafiidhaturrahmah | Oct 2nd, 2008
Dear Umar. May I know the way of THs exalmined the patients in ur city.Using medical traditional plants also? I wait ur writing. Keep Ud date Umar. We waiting for ur amazing stories. Warms, aViS ^_^

Mutseke M. Siira | Oct 2nd, 2008
For someone not in a stable relationship to go for pilplan is a sure way of preparing oneself for unprtected sex with whoever comes, the uknown. it creates false confidence, which , to my opinion is one of the reason why Aids has defyed all the warnings and has persisted in the Sub Sahara.

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