Traditional Healers for HIV/AIDS Prevention and Family Planning, Kiboga District, Uganda: Evaluation of a Program to Improve Practices
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In the face of ongoing epidemics of HIV/AIDS and STI, high demand for family planning, and limited resources, traditional healers may be under-utilized providers of reproductive health education in rural sub-Saharan Africa. We implemented a training program in HIV prevention and family planning methods for healers in the Kiboga district of Uganda and evaluated the program's impact on healers' clinical practice and the diffusion of information to their female clients. Of 46 healers recruited, 30 (65%) completed a pre- and post- training interview. Following training, traditional healers increased discussions of family planning with their clients. Of 84 female clients recruited, 44 (52%) completed the interview before and after the training for healers. Female clients corroborated that they increased discussions of family planning with their healers, as well as discussions about HIV/AIDS. Both healers and their female clients were more likely to make a connection between family planning, condom use, and HIV prevention after the training compared to before the training. Findings provide evidence that traditional healers in a rural area of Uganda can successfully adapt HIV prevention messages and family planning information into their clinical practices.