Traditional healer's knowledge and implications to the management and control of HIV/AIDS in Arusha, Tanzania

  • F C Uiso Institute of Traditional Medicine, Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • E J Kayombo
  • Z H Mbwambo Institute of Traditional Medicine, Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Y Mgonda
  • R L Mahunnah
  • M J Moshi
Keywords: Traditional healers, knowledge, HIV/AIDS, Tanzania

Abstract



Due do limited coverage of conventional health care services in Tanzania, a number of HIV/AIDS patients are consequently being cared for and managed by traditional healers. Knowledge of 132 traditional healers on HIV/AIDS was assessed through a questionnaire that sought among other things the symptoms that these traditional healers associate with HIV/AIDS. Seventy-seven (61%) healers claimed to be treating HIV/AIDS patients. Twenty-five percent (33 healers) had poor, 52.3% (69 healers) had moderate, 22.7% (30 healers) had good knowledge of HIV/AIDS. Sixty-nine (52%) among the traditional healers mentioned six and thirty (23%) healers mentioned more than six symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS as outlined by the WHO clinical HIV staging system. Almost all the healers were aware that HIV/AIDS is spread sexually and through body fluid contact and claimed that precautionary measures are taken to avoid spread of the disease. Knowledge on HIV/AIDS infection from mother to child during pregnancy, at delivery and through breastfeeding was poor for most healers. It seems most traditional healers meet HIV/AIDS patients in their terminal stages when HIV/AIDS-related opportunistic infections are highly manifest, a situation exemplified by the recorded symptoms that were not specific or directly related to HIV/AIDS. There is a need to impart the appropriate knowledge in the identified deficient areas to avoid possibilities of further spread of the disease through the traditional medicine delivery system

Keywords: Traditional healers, knowledge, HIV/AIDS, Tanzania

Tanzania Health Research Bulletin Vol. 8 (2) 2006: pp. 95-100
Published
2007-03-01
How to Cite
UisoF. C., KayomboE. J., MbwamboZ. H., MgondaY., MahunnahR. L., & MoshiM. J. (2007). Traditional healer’s knowledge and implications to the management and control of HIV/AIDS in Arusha, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 8(2), 95-100. https://doi.org/10.4314/thrb.v8i2.14280
Section
Articles

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eISSN: 1821-9241
print ISSN: 1821-6404