Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

9 January 2008

Cameroon: Traditional Healers Drilled on HIV/AIDS

The training was offered by a traditional doctor from South Africa.

An expert in traditional medicine from South Africa was recently in Cameroon to train Cameroonian traditional healers on how to take care of HIV/AIDS patients. The secretary for the International Society of Traditional Healers, Mercy Manci, said traditional doctors need to have information on the prevention and symptoms of the disease so as to be able to know how to care for them and refer them to the hospital when necessary. However Mercy Manci who also heads the Nyangazeziwe organisation in South Africa was quick to reassure that traditional healers don't treat AIDS. "We treat the opportunistic diseases", she said.

She regretted the fact that traditional healers in Cameroon have not benefited from any training on the part of government as in South Africa and urged countries to tolerate traditional and work towards a harmonious relationship between traditional medicine and medical science. In south Africa, research in traditional medicine has yielded some positive results as some tablets have been developed from traditional medicine which are widely used today in that country. Over 85 per cent of the public consult traditional healers. People have a right to treatment and a treatment of their choice.

Mercy Manci who is on her third visit in Cameroon said the first time she came, was to attend the international AIDS conference in which she presented a paper on traditional medicine; the second time was to train Cameroonian traditional healers on the prevention and symptoms of HIV/AIDS. The present visit which took her to some parts of the North West like in Mbengwi, was to follow-up those she trained last time and equally train others. According to the head of traditional healers in Cameroon, Fai Fominyen, the training fall in line with building the capacities of Cameroonian traditional healers, exchange experiences as well as offer treatment to some of the ailing members of the Cameroon association of traditional healers.

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