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

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3) Training of traditional healers, biomedical health practitioners and community representatives Traditional healer training is conducted in two phases. Initial training is given three days a month for six months and is aimed at giving healers basic facts about STIs, collaboration, counselling and patient care and support. THETA trainers use this period to create rapport and to learn more about healers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices towards HIV and AIDS. The second phase of training is intended to enhance collaboration and further develop skills in community AIDS education, counselling and referral, and includes field visits to local AIDS NGOs and hospitals.

Healers were able to describe common STIs, as well as serious clinical signs that need immediate referral to hospitals. g. difficulty in breathing. —Traditional healer, Focus Group Discussion One medical officer noted that training had helped traditional healers understand their professional environment, and this has allowed healers to express their views openly with biomedical workers. Secondly, as traditional healers have been exposed to the concept of modern medicine, they have learned that both modern and traditional systems are acceptable and important.

37 Ancient remedies, new disease Many times traditional healers have emphasized that HIV/AIDS kills, and they will always emphasize taking your child for testing. Traditional healers advise and insist that each of their clients brings his/her own razor blade. —Community member, Mbarara Healers describe their role in educating their families and communities, not only about AIDS, but about other important health issues: We have started to educate people on the importance of hygiene in homes. —Trained healer, Mukono This information (AIDS) is very useful to my family, especially my adolescent sons, and I no longer fear looking after a person with HIV.

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