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By Rachel King

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Extra info 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.

She thought that no good could ever come out of the work of such healers. When she entered a healer’s shrine for the first time, she was very impressed by the number of people waiting for treatment and thought: “If this is rubbish, all these people would not be here…”. From that moment on, her curiosity increased, but the first three months of THETA were discouraging and frustrating as many of the healers were initially indifferent to the idea of collaboration. One of the healers asked her, ‘What are you doing here?

To build the capacity of other NGOs and CBOs to enable them to work with traditional healers in AIDS prevention and care 4. To support healer HIV/AIDS initiatives in their own communities. 5. To collect, organize and disseminate information on traditional medicine and HIV/AIDS in East and Southern Africa. THETA, Kampala Programmes • Training traditional healers in community mobilization, prevention education and counselling • AIDS care training for healers • Training of Trainers (TOT) for healers • Biomedical health practitioner training in traditional healer collaboration • Information management • Herbal processing and packaging • Herbal gardening • Clinical and social research on traditional medicine and AIDS Monitoring and evaluation Finance and administration • Monitoring and evaluation of all programmes including follow-up of traditional healer initiatives long after the completion of training • Review of indicators and tools • Special studies on traditional medicine and AIDS • Report writing • • • • • Resource mobilization Human resource management Financial management Partnerships Representation THETA training for traditional healers in AIDS care, counselling, and education: what it entails THETA’s healer training began in 1993 as a pilot programme.

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