A senior World Health Organisation (WHO) official told a conference on Tuesday that traditional medicine had helped improve the condition of two of his nieces, who are HIV-positive.Dr Welile Shasha, the WHO liaison officer in South Africa, said he took the two to a traditional healer and their conditions improved.
They are being tested for viral load ... to see where they are, he told a conference of traditional leaders in
Benoni. Shasha said HIV-positive people should be exposed to decent choices as contained in the comprehensive treatment plan for HIV/Aids.Speaking at the conference earlier, Minister of Health Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said the status and profile of traditional healers should be raised for the benefit of all South Africans.
It is unfortunate that we often lose sight of the continuing service that has been offered by this sector, which remains largely informal and marginalised in most parts of the world, she said.
Tshabalala-Msimang said she believed that traditional medicine could not be adapted to Western medicine.
We believe that traditional medicine is a discipline on its own, she said, adding that traditional and Western medicine should work hand in hand.
We cannot ignore their immense contribution in the provision of health care over [the] centuries.
The theme of the conference is Working Together with Traditional Health Practitioners in Health Care Delivery.
These health practitioners are the first health care providers to be consulted in up to 80% of cases, especially in rural areas, she said.
It is for this reason that there has been a recognition of traditional medicine practice in South Africa.
There are about 200 000 traditional healers in South Africa. More than 150 people attended the conference. In 2000 the WHO said about 80% of the people in Africa relied on traditional healers. --
(Source: Sapa , Mail and Guardian, 30 March 2004)
Official Opening of the Conference on Traditional Medicine Kopaneng 30 March 2004