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close this bookCollaboration with Traditional Healers in HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care in Sub-Saharan Africa - A literature review (UNAIDS, 2000, 64 p.)
close this folderLessons learned
View the documentTraining methods
View the documentCollaboration
View the documentProject design and implementation

Training methods

The Government of South Africa recently hired a traditional healer to regularly train fellow-healers. With her many years of experience, this traditional healer suggested that traditional healers need a participatory approach to training, and need to be shown the utmost respect. She advised, “Let them burn their incense in training”, meaning that if the project respects the traditional healers' customs, the training will be successful. In addition, she emphasized the importance of using fellow-healers to train others, as healers are more receptive to hearing new things from their peers. She cautions against talking about traditional healers' associations in training as the politics will distract healers from the training session (Manci, 1999, personal communication). Other project leaders agreed with Manci about the issue of respect and some specifically emphasized the importance of respecting healers as professional health care providers.

With regard to content of training, most initiatives have had little difficulty with issues around AIDS symptoms, HIV transmission and prevention, condom use, condom promotion and distribution. The areas that provided the biggest obstacles were home care, death and dying, mother-to-child HIV transmission and, in the Central African Republic, condom use, which the authors linked to a high desire to have children.