Audet CM, Hamilton E, Hughart L, Salato J. Engagement of Traditional Healers and Birth Attendants as a Controversial Proposal to Extend the HIV Health Workforce. Current HIV/AIDS reports. 2015 Jun;12(12). 238-45. PMID: 25855337 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC4430841 NIHMSID: NIHMS679663.
"Medical pluralism" is the use of multiple health systems and is common among people living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Healers and traditional birth attendants (TBAs) often are a patient's first and/or preferred line of treatment; this often results in delayed, interrupted, or abandoned diagnosis and therapy. Literature from the study of medical pluralism suggests that HIV care and treatment programs are infrequently and inconsistently engaging healers around the world. Mistrust and misunderstanding among patients, clinical providers, and traditional practitioners make the development of effective partnerships difficult, particularly regarding early HIV diagnosis and antiretroviral therapy. We provide recommendations for the development of successful collaboration health workforce efforts based on both published articles and case studies from our work in rural Mozambique.