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admin 10.09.2013

We all know Nicki Minaj loves flaunting her best 'assets', remember her Anaconda music video? Video Of Coffin Carrier In Ghana Dancing Azonto, Will You Allow This At Your Family Member's Funeral?
This video of coffin carriers dancing everything from highlife to azonto to alkayida will make your jaw drop. Treating aches the traditional way, a healer in Bayt al Faqih, Yemen, makes a series of incisions, then places a heated horn over each to create suction. Doctors trained in the Western sciences largely focus on the biomedical causes of disease, while traditional beliefs take a more holistic approach.
The gulf between modern and traditional practitioners has narrowed somewhat in the past decade. South Africa leads continental efforts to bring traditional healers into a legal framework.
Other medical practitioners point out that traditional healers, with or without the support of the law, are already providing services within communities. There is growing realization that it is possible for traditional and Western practitioners to work together to improve patients’ well-being, especially when it comes to developing new medications, reporting new cases of contagious diseases and finding ways to ensure that patients stick to their prescribed treatments.
In Tanzania, the Dar es Salaam-based Institute of Traditional Medicine has a pilot programme to test the efficacy of local herbs in helping reduce the severity of other illnesses often seen in HIV patients.
To an extent, an informal system of referral already exists between traditional practitioners and doctors. So were the dozens of faces stubbornly waiting to enter the tiny thatched hut in Zimbabwe where Nhamburo Masango, a traditional healer, sat among herbs, bones and other remedies. Traditional healers are often the first and last line of defence against the most contagious and debilitating diseases that plague their lives. Traditional healing is linked to wider belief systems and remains integral to the lives of most Africans. In Zimbabwe, traditional healers are reputed to divine the cause of a person’s illness or social problems by throwing bones to interpret the will of dead ancestors. WHO advocates incorporating safe and effective traditional medicine into primary health-care systems. Plans include forming a healers’ council that will, among other things, authenticate the efficacy of herbal medicines. Given appropriate skills and means, they are well placed to play a bigger role in combating Africa’s major diseases.


In early 2005, parliament approved a law to recognize the country’s estimated 200,000 healers as health-service providers. Bringing them within the primary-health fold would therefore help rather than hinder efforts to flush out harmful practices. Herbalists are allowing the institute to evaluate the substances they use to treat patients.
Edmund Kayombo, who is helping the institute establish the effectiveness of traditional herbs.
They live within communities and are likely to be the first to know if any new disease surfaces. TB can be easily cured if patients take their medication every day and complete the course. Overall, 89 per cent of those supervised by traditional healers completed treatment, compared with 67 per cent supervised by other volunteers. In Zimbabwe, following a massive government campaign to end practices that could facilitate the spread of HIV, healers condemned using a razor blade, needed to cut the skin when medication must be rubbed into the flesh, on more than one person.
An old man in front of me had a skin rash, another person a swollen leg, and somewhere a child complained of stomachache. Although Western medicine is generally accepted throughout Africa, it has not replaced but rather augmented indigenous health approaches. People are opting for traditional healers, who do not always demand cash up front and who far outnumber doctors.
In 2002, the organization issued its first comprehensive guidelines to help countries, such as Zimbabwe, develop policies to regulate traditional medicine. Those registered would, for example, be allowed to prescribe sick leave and offer treatment for numerous conditions. If scientists discover beneficial elements in the herbs, they purify them and determine what the proper dosage should be. These herbs include remedies for strengthening the immune system, increasing appetite and treating oral thrush, skin rashes and diarrhoea. It includes training 350 healers in prevention, voluntary counselling and testing, home-based care and antiretroviral therapy. I keep the bitter-sweet red root he prescribed for headaches next to my Imitrex from GlaxoSmithKline. Some patients, preferring the healers, may disregard their doctor’s advice or take herbal medicines that could have dangerous interactions with pharmaceuticals.


There is no way to evaluate such claims without a council representing all the healers, he explained. Some hailed this as an important step in rooting out charlatans and protecting patients, but others saw it differently. This addresses a major concern that some people have with the way medicines have been prescribed by traditional healers.
They cannot be expected to cure HIV, he says, but they can lessen some of the symptoms that occur frequently in people with HIV. Checklists or pictorial guides to symptoms, diseases and modes of transmission could facilitate communication between healers and officials, they say. However, an innovative partnership between medical and traditional practitioners helped reduce the spread through a course that trained healers to supervise and record the doses taken by each patient to ensure proper compliance. By working with these healers, doctors would be gaining allies who live in the patient’s own community. Two weeks before coming home for a visit, I had undergone an exhaustive medical examination at one of the better hospitals in the US city of Boston, where I lived at the time. Doctors for Life, which represents over a thousand health practitioners in South Africa, objected to the government’s plans to legitimize healers. Mary Reeve, medical anthropologists, argue that open lines of communication between traditional healers and the medical community could tremendously improve surveillance.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 per cent of people in Africa regularly seek their services. In Zimbabwe, although I was not in dire need of medical attention, my mother insisted that I have another “check-up” before going back to the US. Health officials must include traditional healers in their educational outreach to doctors and must be trained to know what information they should request from healers. Most traditional healers are both herbalists and diviners, but some specialize in one aspect. Many doctors believe healers to be charlatans, preying on the superstitions of local families.



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