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Title:Traditional healers and HIV and AIDS prevention and care in South Africa: the case of Mahlabathini District in KwaZulu-Natal
Author:Mbatha, Blessing
Periodical:Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems (ISSN 1683-0296)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:traditional medicine
health care
Abstract:The majority of people in developing countries have access to traditional health care and it is widely accepted that about 80 percent of people in Africa rely on traditional medicine for many of their health care needs. This article examines the roles of traditional healers in HIV and AIDS prevention in the Mahlabathini District in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Research was carried out among traditional healers in Mahlabathini District. Fifty-five traditional healers were interviewed and the data was analysed using thematic categorization. The findings suggest that healers continue to play a significant role in health promotion in areas where the population has limited access to modern health care. Traditional healers have a crucial role to play in building the health system in South Africa and in strengthening and supporting the national response to HIV and AIDS. However, integration of traditional healers in modern health care is limited, due to the failure of African governments to appreciate the tremendous role of these healers as manpower resources in the fight against AIDS. There is therefore a need for urgent investment and support of traditional healers and traditional medicine - not only by government, but also by civil society and the private sector. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]