2.3.1 Efforts should be made to train all categories of traditional health practitioners in AIDS prevention and control, whether or not they are part of the formal health system. They will, in turn, become trainers for their client population, thus promoting a multiplier effect.
2.3.2 Prior to the development of the methodology and content of such training, it is imperative that the background and learning needs of the practitioners be determined. Furthermore, it is essential that extreme care be used in identifying “trusted intermediaries” who will act as training providers (educators and modern medical health practitioners and workers who believe in traditional medicine as well as in modern medicine) to ensure that the trainees have maximum confidence in their trainers.
2.3.3 The very first step in training must be the establishment of good rapport between the educational providers and the recipients by: (a) emphasizing that “AIDS” is a new disease, for which neither modern nor traditional medicine has yet discovered a cure and (b) by informing the traditional health practitioners that they can play a vital role in the prevention and control of AIDS and in patient care. Training programmes organized at community level should emphasize that all kinds of health professionals (modern and traditional) should work together against a major, serious health problem that is not only of local, but of national and global concern. It must be stressed that cooperation on AIDS between traditional health practitioners and modern medical practitioners is very important and could be of mutual benefit. While modern medicine is needed for the accurate diagnosis of AIDS, it is the traditional health practitioners who would probably be the primary care providers and in the front line in the prevention and control of the spread of this disease.
2.3.4 Once rapport and confidence have been established, modern and traditional health practitioners should share their perceptions of AIDS and AIDS-related diseases. Where possible, national/provincial traditional health practitioner leaders should be included as members of the training team. The trainers should then proceed with a seminar/workshop to present relevant information on AIDS transmission, prevention, control, and patient care in a way that minimizes resentment and resistance among the trainees. Appropriate curricula on the subject of traditional medicine in general, and AIDS in particular, should be developed in collaboration with traditional health practitioners and taught at medical schools and at other schools of health sciences.
Examples of possible training methods include:
- group discussion rather than a lecture approach at both national and local levels;
- a problem-solving and case-study approach in small working groups;
- use of audiovisual aids, such as films and slides on specific AIDS cases, in the language of the trainees;
- demonstrations of beneficial therapeutic practices;
- role-playing (dramatization, etc.).
2.3.5 The development of training materials for traditional health practitioners should include:
(a) motion pictures, audiovisual aids, pamphlets, posters, cartoons, and leaflets with drawings illustrating basic facts on AIDS and AIDS-related diseases;
(b) for the education of the general public by the trained traditional health practitioner, the following materials could be made available: scripts of theatrical plays, songs, radio jingles, short stories, poems, well-known myths, legends, and folklore (adapted as needed); posters, cartoons, and audiovisual aids (where appropriate).