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By Rachel King

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KEY PLAYERS Important and/or interested members of the District Health Team, community leaders, other biomedical health practitioners, community interviewers (CIs), and Community Monitoring Committee (CMC). DISTRICT LIAISON PERSON (LP) The LP is chosen through consultation with THETA and key players. The LP is responsible for organizing training, contacting healers and biomedical health practitioners, and coordinating with THETA, CMC, key players and CIs. COMMUNITY INTERVIEWERS (CIs) Local people trained in basic social research who are able to monitor activities.

42 UNAIDS Mugume Yorokamu: Clinical Officer, Mbarara District Mugume is one of the few clinical officers in Uganda who are very open about collaborating with traditional healers. He has been working in Kashari county, Mbarara District for three years and, upon his arrival, found that the healers were highly organized. He was soon appointed an adviser to the newly formed traditional healer organization. Prior to working in Kashari, he was also working with the Mbarara University Mental Health programme.

What the healers have been able to do with very basic information has been Donna’s greatest source of motivation and inspiration. ” Donna says there are many things she has learned in the last nine years working with traditional healers. 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.

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