The Role of Traditional Healers in the treatment of HIV and AIDS in Tsetse Village: The Case of Mahikeng in the North West Province
Sebata, Tsietsi Piet
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During the colonial era there was a huge disparity between modem sciences and indigenous knowledge systems. For instance, modem sciences have gained momentum while indigenous knowledge was labelled as primitive, out-dated and to certain extend as witchcraft. The disparity in health system created a parallel between modem sciences and indigenous knowledge system. WHO (2003) has recommended the collaboration between Western medicine and Traditional healers for treatment of HIV and AIDS. The latter are skilled in the treating secondary or opportunistic infections. Therefore, Traditional Healers have a hope that they can cure HIV/AIDS if they can be allowed to practice effectively in hospitals and if their medicines can be accessed. In Africa, traditional herbal medicines are often used as primary treatment for HIV and AIDS symptoms such as dermatological disorders, nausea, depression, botseno, letshollo le malwetsi a thobalano. Also, people living with HIV and AIDS resorts to traditional medicine to augment conventional therapeutic products. In this context, a descriptive research used qualitative interviews to investigate the role of traditional healers/ doctors in the treatment of opportunistic infections of HIV and AIDS in Mahikeng (Tsetse village) North West Province. The study utilised unstructured interviews which consisted of various interview questions that are developed in such a way that neither the exact questions the interviewer asks nor the responses of the subjects are predetermined. The units for the study were ten (10) Traditional Healers because they are the key participants for the study and ensured the researcher has knowledge of the topic. The study has found out that Traditional healers play a significant role in the treatment of opportunistic infections and is willing to work with Department of Health in treating people infected with HIV and AIDS. People who are living HIV and AIDS will firstly consult Traditional healers for assistance. The study has made the following recommendations. Traditional healers must be prohibited from certain procedures, for instance, drawing of blood from patients, rapid use of razors, claiming to cure HIV and AIDS. Traditional healers have knowledge in midwifery and government should give training on continuous basis. In Hospitals Traditional Healers with relevant certificate must work together with western doctors in the diagnosis of diseases and treatment of opportunistic infections. Drastic measures must be taken against bogus doctors who do street abortions and claim to cure more than thousands diseases.
- Health Sciences