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Missing Each Other: Problems and Potential for Collaborative Efforts between Biomedicine and Traditional Healers in South Africa in the Time of AIDS

Year: 2005
Author: Wreford, Joanne
Unit: ASRU
Journal: Social Dynamics
Volume: 31
Issue: 2
Pages: 55-89
Abstract:

Supported by ethnographic evidence from ongoing research with African traditional healers, mainly in the Western Cape Province, this paper promotes reciprocal collaborations between traditional practitioners and western trained doctors in South Africa. The emphasis is placed on HIV/AIDS interventions. Some obstacles to effective cooperation are examined, followed by an exploration of government actions (and non-actions) which together tend to influence popular opinion about traditional healing. The relationship between traditional healers and witchcraft – arguably the major contributor to suspicions about traditional healing practice – is analysed, and the implications for HIV/AIDS interventions are examined in the light of these findings. Finally the paper sketches some proposals for practical implementation of collaborative efforts.


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