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ESSAY: Traditional Healers

Given the severe shortage of trained medical personnel, especially in rural areas of low-resource countries, many medical anthropologists have suggested incorporating traditional healers into health care and health education initiatives. However, this idea has been controversial. Review the Steinglass article and think about the various of sides of this debate. Should traditional healers be actively incorporated into our response to the HIV/AIDS crisis? Develop a stance, and using evidence from readings, lecture, Ted talks etc., defend your position.

ANSWER

Traditional Healers

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Medical anthropologists hold the view that alternative medicine and traditional healers have something to bring to the table in terms of contributing towards healing and the general well-being of the society. Steinglass’ article, which focuses on village healers in Africa and the increased fight against HIV/AIDS, describes in length how both the traditional medical system and the westernized medical system are being used to save lives from this disease. This paper provides a detailed discussion regarding the reason as to why traditional….

 Steinglass, in his article, concludes that even though the integration of both systems to fight the disease is necessary, the cooperation between them is proving to be quite hard because traditional healers believe that nature causes cause most of the illnesses, whereas conventional doctors believe otherwise[1]. That, as it is, illustrates that there is no common ground for both medical systems. In other cases, where both the traditional healer and the conventional doctors share the same idea regarding a situation, most traditional healers…

The little faith in traditional healers by conventional practitioners has everything to with the colonialism history in the African continent. The colonizers discriminated and oppressed traditional healers. The reality, however, is that some traditional healers are doing a wonderful job in the rural setup. As such, there is a need to integrate such healers into the fight against HIV/AIDS. Majority of people in the rural areas tend to seek care from traditional healers often because they can access them more efficiently compared to other health professionals. For others, access to traditional healers is better because they share the same cultural perception about the disease and therefore, they can relate …


[1] Steinglass, Matthew. “It Takes a Village Healer: Can Traditional Medicine Remedy Africa’s AIDS Crisis?.” Understanding and Applying Medical Anthropology (2016): 409.

[2] Ibid

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