In preparation for this consultation, the participants were asked to prepare country reports that would outline the most significant issues stemming from experiences in involving traditional health practitioners in national AIDS programmes.
Fifteen experts and members of the WHO Secretariat took part in the deliberations. The participants, representing a wide range of technical disciplines, included anthropologists, educators, health policy-makers, pharmacognocists, pharmacologists, and traditional health practitioners, as well as managers of national AIDS programmes (see Annex 1).
During the opening ceremony, the Mayor of Francistown, Mr M.I. Ebrahim, formally welcomed the participants of the consultation. Mr M. Tshipinare, the acting Minister of Health, then added his words of welcome to the participants and described Botswana's medium-term plan for the prevention and control of AIDS (see Annex 3).
The consultation was formally opened by Dr G.L. Monekosso, Regional Director for Africa. In his inaugural address, Dr Monekosso reminded the participants of the gravity of the AIDS pandemic and how it has particularly affected the African Region (see Annex 4).
Dr O. Akerele, Manager of WHO's Traditional Medicine Programme, next addressed the group and outlined to them the purpose and expected outputs of the consultation. He also described to them the objectives and activities of WHO's programme, including recent collaborative work with the Biomedical Research Unit of the WHO Global Programme on AIDS, to assess the potential anti-HIV activity of traditional remedies (see Annex 5).
Next followed the nomination of officers: Dr E. Maganu, Chairman; Dr G. L. Chavunduka, Vice-Chairman; and Dr P. Marshall and Dr Debrework Zewdie, Rapporteurs.
The participants then adopted the proposed agenda and began their deliberations (see Annex 2).
The programme began with a review by Dr B. Nkowane of the current status of the AIDS pandemic, including global preventive and control strategies (see Annex 6). This was followed by the country reports (see Annex 7) and two days of group work, during which the participants were expected to identify the most practical ways to involve traditional health practitioners in AIDS prevention and control, giving consideration to policy formulation, training, teaching/learning materials, and research priorities. Plenary sessions were held towards the end of the consultation to summarize the discussions, consider recommendations, and adopt a draft report.