Traditional healers (THs) co-exist with orthodox medicine and offer options for the sick, especially cases with perceived supernatural causes. This study examined the role and capability of THs in the national tuberculosis control effort. Seventeen community leaders (CLs) and 20 THs were interviewed. Prolonged cough constituted one of the common health problems taken to THs in the communities studied. The THs manage such cases with herbs and are not inclined to referring cases to the orthodox health care facility because of the confidence in their ability to handle the cases which result from supernatural causes. The CLs attest to the acceptability of the THs in the communities, which they attribute to the efficacy of the traditional healing, uncomplicated treatment process, cause of the prolonged cough, as well as cost and secrecy. THs can be educated to make prompt referral of cases to Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) clinics for prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
International Quarterly of Community Health Education 01/2010; 31(2):187-202. DOI:10.2190/IQ.31.2.f