In the four projects studied, there were two general categories of traditional healers:
1. Traditional birth attendants, or midwives
The functions of TBA's have traditionally been to assist pregnant women with birthing and sometimes to provide prenatal care. With training, these functions can be greatly expanded to include services such as routine pre- and post-natal care, nutrition, referrals, record keeping and family planning. The specific content of these duties is described more fully in Step II.
2. Herbalists, bonesetters, and spiritualists
The functions of herbalists, bonesetters, spiritualists, and other types of healers are much more varied, depending upon the specific type of healing performed and the culture and geographic region in which they practice. Herbalists and bonesetters use a wide variety of medicinal plants and other remedies. Spiritualists draw from a variety of faiths and spiritual beliefs. And many of these practitioners will combine one or more of these practices.
A common denominator among many healers is their use of medicinal plants in their treatments. This common factor can be used as a base for improving their skills in identifying herbal plants, collecting and preserving specimens in sanitary ways, and prescribing and utilizing medicines in safe and consistent ways.