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They respond to values that Western-trained medical personnel ignore and are insensitive to. Healers understand where their patients are coming from and treat them as human beings, which is their strength. She has learned that it is not only what you give a patient that matters but also how you treat the patient, and that what surrounds the patient is just as important as the disease diagnosis. She says she has been humbled, having realized that biomedicine offers a very narrow and incomplete approach and that, “Despite its limitations, traditional medicine is more complete in its response to the broad definition of health”.

The main change in his ‘job description’ before and after THETA is his record-keeping. He notes down the name of every patient he sees. On average, he sees about 10 clients a week for diarrhoea, worms, enlarged liver, cough, madness, fever, trouble with child birth, impotence, nose bleeds, syphilis and HIV/AIDS. The diseases he cannot treat, such as TB, HIV/AIDS and enlarged liver, he refers to the hospital. In fact, one of the patients waiting has a brain disease and he has been trying to treat him, but has also referred him to the hospital for medication.

None of these elements alone would be enough to ensure the success of the programme. • Respect for healers as legitimate health-care providers generates trust. Healers have a long history of not being respected by colonial governments, missionaries and the biomedical health-care system. When THETA approached them with a genuine respect for their profession and their work, the relationship started off on a positive note. THETA also relates to healers with openness, and tries to convince others of the value of traditional healers, which instils increased self-confidence among healers.

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