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Traditional healers join council to fight HIV

Mandla Khoza
Traditional healers from Mpumalanga’s deep-rural Nkomazi have joined hands with their municipality’s health desk in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

The traditional healers are now also counselling people and advising them to test for HIV before taking any traditional or herbal medicine.

“To reduce the spread of the disease we have decided to twin with traditional healers,” said Nkomazi municipality’s HIV and Aids desk coordinator, Emmah Mahlalela.

She said officials from her department were attending traditional healing graduation ceremonies to spread the message of the importance of HIV testing and taking appropriate medication.

One traditional healing trainer, Khabonina Nyambi from Komatipoort thanked the nurses and the municipality’s health desk for their help. “Our patients used to die from HIV-related diseases. We believed we could heal them, not knowing that they were HIV positive and that they needed modern doctors,” she said.

Nyambi, who has five trainees, advises her patients to test for HIV before taking traditional medicine.

“I now know about HIV-related illnesses, so each time patients come with those symptoms I advise them to test for HIV first before we continue with traditional herbs,” she said.

“I believe if all traditional healers advised their patients to test for HIV, we could stop the spread of the disease.”

Youth

Nkomazi mayor Thulisile Khoza said she and Miss Mpumalanga Mpumi Luphoko visited traditional healing graduation ceremonies every week to spread awareness in the community about HIV and Aids. 

“We know that the spread of HIV is common among the youth, so we decided to feature Mpumi Luphoko, who is also young and a role model to them. She shares words of wisdom with the youth at the graduation gatherings,” said Khoza.