Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 238–245 | Cite as

Engagement of Traditional Healers and Birth Attendants as a Controversial Proposal to Extend the HIV Health Workforce

  • Carolyn M. Audet
  • Erin Hamilton
  • Leighann Hughart
  • Jose Salato
The Global Epidemic (SH Vermund, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on The Global Epidemic


“Medical pluralism” is the use of multiple health systems and is common among people living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Healers and traditional birth attendants (TBAs) often are a patient’s first and/or preferred line of treatment; this often results in delayed, interrupted, or abandoned diagnosis and therapy. Literature from the study of medical pluralism suggests that HIV care and treatment programs are infrequently and inconsistently engaging healers around the world. Mistrust and misunderstanding among patients, clinical providers, and traditional practitioners make the development of effective partnerships difficult, particularly regarding early HIV diagnosis and antiretroviral therapy. We provide recommendations for the development of successful collaboration health workforce efforts based on both published articles and case studies from our work in rural Mozambique.


HIV/AIDS Traditional healer Traditional birth attendant Community engagement Community-clinic linkage Community health worker Testing referral Antenatal care (ANC) Elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) Sub-Saharan Africa Mozambique 


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolyn M. Audet
    • 1
    • 2
  • Erin Hamilton
    • 1
  • Leighann Hughart
    • 1
  • Jose Salato
    • 3
  1. 1.Vanderbilt Institute for Global HealthVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Health PolicyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Friends in Global HealthMaputo and QuelimaneMozambique

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