Report of the Consultation on AIDS and Traditional Medicine: Prospects for Involving Traditional Health Practitioners (Francistown, Botswana, 23-27 July 1990)
(1990; 48 pages) [French] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
Open this folder and view contents1. INTRODUCTION
Open this folder and view contents2. APPROACHES FOR INVOLVING TRADITIONAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS IN AIDS PREVENTION AND CONTROL
Open this folder and view contents3. RECOMMENDATIONS
Close this folderANNEXES
View the documentAnnex 1. List of participants
View the documentAnnex 2. Consultation agenda
View the documentAnnex 3. Welcoming remarks by Mr M. Tshipinare, Acting Minister of Health, Botswana
View the documentAnnex 4. Inaugural address by Dr G.L. Monekosso, Director, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Brazzaville
View the documentAnnex 5. Traditional medicine and AIDS: Prospects and perspectives by Dr Olayiwola Akerele, Programme Manager, Traditional Medicine, WHO Geneva
View the documentAnnex 6. A review of AIDS epidemiology worldwide by Dr Benjamin M. Nkowane, Medical Officer, Global Programme on AIDS, WHO, Geneva
Close this folderAnnex 7. Country profiles
View the documentBotswana
View the documentCameroon
View the documentEthiopia
View the documentGhana
View the documentKenya1
View the documentNigeria
View the documentUganda
View the documentZimbabwe
 

Cameroon

Introduction

From colonial times, all traditional medicine was wrapped up in the same package and banned. The law banning it has not yet been lifted. Indeed, a draft bill to recognize traditional medicine is now being discussed. So, traditional medicine has survived, but clandestinely.

However, the official attitude has gradually changed with time, thanks to research efforts, censuses of traditional healers, and pressure from traditional health practitioners, who formed ephemeral semi-national associations; WHO's multilateral push; and the Alma-Ata Declaration. The public institutions that have accumulated information over the last 20 years include:

- the National Medical School (Centre universitaire des Sciences de la Santé, Université fédérale du Cameroun);

- the Faculty of Science of the University of Yaoundé;

- the Institute for Medical Research and Study of Medicinal Plants;

- the Ministry of Public Health's National Commission for the Study of Traditional Medicine;

- the people themselves through popular usage;

- the national newspapers;

- experiments carried out in Yaoundé National Central Hospital on the cooperation of traditional medicine and modern medicine.

Recognition of traditional medicine in primary health care

Thanks to the Declaration of Alma-Ata (1978), the National Five-Year Development Plan, 1981-1986, included a programme on traditional medicine in primary health care activities.

Utilization of traditional health practitioners in primary health care

Traditional midwives have now been widely assimilated into primary health care teams. The use of traditional psychiatrists, doctors, and their “bush hospitals” is now being discussed in the planning of services for the new director of maternal and child health and mental health, created by the 1989 decree reorganizing the Ministry of Public Health.

Potential contribution of traditional medicine to AIDS control

The national coordinator of traditional medicine, who has been conducting the census of traditional health practitioners since 1983, is also the team leader for the WHO Regional Centre for Exchange of Didactic Material and Information for AIDS Control in Francophone Africa and, as such, acts as a suitable bridge between the National AIDS Control Committee and the National Traditional Medicine Programme. A knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices (KABP) survey has already been conducted, which has sensitized and initiated traditional health practitioners in AIDS control. Resources are needed to keep these initiatives going. What has been done so far can be followed up by a national seminar with traditional health practitioners on how to control HIV/AIDS, in collaboration with other action programmes, especially those of the Ministry of Public Health and the private health sector.

The following is a questionnaire used to elicit from traditional health practitioners information that indicates their understanding of the disease AIDS.

TRADITIONAL MEDICINE AND AIDS PLEASE ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

1. What is the native language of the Traditional Healer who is answering these questions?...

2. What is the name of the disease called AIDS in your native language? In French: In another language: (specify) ...

3. When a patient suffering from AIDS comes to consult you, what does he/she say is worrying him or her? [followed by 12 blanks]

4. When the patient says that, what further questions do you ask to seek more information? [4 blanks]

5. In your own opinion, what is the cause or what are the causes of AIDS? [6 blanks]

6. Is AIDS a natural disease or a disease caused by something not natural?

Natural

YES / NO

Not natural

YES / NO

7. If AIDS is not a natural disease, where does it come from? [4 blanks]

8.

(a)

Can a man get AIDS from a woman by sexual contact?

YES / NO

 

(b)

Can a women get AIDS from a man by sexual contact?

YES / NO

 

(c)

Can a person give AIDS to another person through blood transfusion?

YES / NO

 

(d)

Can a traditional healer transmit AIDS by using the same scarification blade or knife on many patients?

YES / NO

 

(e)

Can a traditional beauty maker on women transmit AIDS by [using] the same needle [on more than one person] to make taboo marks?

YES / NO

 

(f)

Can the use of blood sucking [with the same leeches] in several patients promote transmission of AIDS?

YES / NO

 

(g)

Can a pregnant woman sick with AIDS give AIDS to her unborn child?

YES / NO

 

(h)

Can charlatans and quack nurses who give injections with one needle in the private houses in the village transmit AIDS?

YES / NO

 

(i)

Can modern hospitals cure the disease called AIDS?

YES / NO

 

(j)

Do you refer cases suspected of [being] AIDS to other healers?

YES / NO

 

(k)

Do you refer cases suspected of [being] AIDS to modern hospitals?

YES / NO

 

(l)

Does any person (healer or not) refer AIDS cases to you?

YES / NO

 

(m)

Do you know some expert healers who cure AIDS?

YES / NO

 

(n)

If yes, name them: ...

 

15. What are the signs that an AIDS patient has been cured? [7 blanks]

16. How many AIDS patients have died in your healing home? ...

17. How did you know that they were AIDS patients? ...

18. Are there other diseases that present with the same signs and complaint as AIDS? YES / NO. If yes, what are these diseases? ...

19. When you see a case of AIDS in your clinic, what advice do you give to him or her? [4 blanks]

24. Has the news about AIDS changed the behaviour of people in your village or community? YES/NO. If yes, in what way? ...

25. Are you willing to join the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization to fight against AIDS? YES / NO

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