When TAC’s Homu Branch in Limpopo was conducting their door to door campaign on HIV and TB, they found that many community members were defaulting on their antiretroviral treatment.
“This is because of there are some traditional healers in the villages that there claim to cure HIV /AIDS,” says Daniel Mathebula a community mobiliser at TAC Mopani. On the 09th of August 2012, the Homu branch brought together community health care workers, church leaders and traditional healers under the theme ARV’s vs traditional medicines at the Homu 14a Tribal Authority office.
The main purpose of the dialogue was to educate the community about the importance of ARV’s and adhering to treatment. But also give a space for community members to share their understanding of taking treatment but also get a perspective of why some patients choose to switch traditional medicine.
Mr Maxon Milambo, a traditional doctor in the village condemned the substituting ARV’s with traditional medicine and also condoned those who claim to cure HIV/Aids.
Sister Nkuna, sister in charge at Mapayeni clinic in her presentation stresses the importance of early testing and in her presentation spoke about the importance of adhering to treatment.
The traditional healers also raised concerns that people need to be more open and might need to disclose their status if they want to consult traditional healers.
This then became one of the resolutions, when patients seek help from traditional healers and disclose their status it is the role of the healer to refer them to clinics.
At the end of the dialouge it was agreed that traditional healers needed more educational programmes on HIV and ARV’s and follow up community dialogues were needed to also tackle issues like stigma and discrimination.