African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines

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Use of traditional and complementary health practices in prenatal, delivery and postnatal care in the context of hiv transmission from mother to child (PMTCT) in the Eastern Cape, South Africa

K Peltzer, N Phaswana-Mafuya, L Treger


The aim of this study was as part of a baseline assessment in PMTCT in the traditional health sector: a) to determine the views of women who have used the services of traditional practitioners before, during and/or after pregnancy, and b) to conduct formative research with traditional health practitioners (THPs), i.e. herbalists, diviners and traditional birth attendants (TBAs) on HIV, pregnancy care, delivery and infant care. The sample included a) 181 postnatal care clients with a child less than 12 months interviewed at postnatal clinic visits from 20 primary care clinics in the Kouga Local Service Area (LSA), Cacadu district, Eastern Cape, and b) 54 traditional birth attendants (TBAs) and 47 herbalists and/or diviners were interviewed from Kouga LSA. Results showed that THP (in particular TBAs and to a certain extend herbalists/diviners) play a significant role in pregnancy and postnatal care, and also with the assistance of delivery. Certain HIV risk practices were reported on the practice of TBAs. THPs also seem to have some role in infant feeding and family planning. THPs should be trained in optimising their services in pregnancy and postnatal care, and preparation for health facility delivery. In addition, they should be trained on HIV risk practices, HIV/AIDS, HIV prevention including PMTCT, infant feeding and family planning.

Key words: Traditional medicine, traditional practices, complementary medicine, prenatal care, postnatal care, delivery, infant care, HIV, PMTCT, Eastern Cape, South Africa

AJOL African Journals Online