Empowering Tanzanian eye healthcare: Traditional Healers

Traditional African Healers are people who practice traditional African medicine, often known as African traditional medicine or indigenous healing. They are important members of many African communities, offering healthcare, spiritual direction, and counseling. Traditional healing practices in Africa vary by location and can involve the use of herbs, divination, ceremonies, and other methods to diagnose and treat a variety of physical and spiritual problems. Herbalists, Diviners, Spiritual Healers, Witch doctors, Bone Setters, Midwives and Birth Attendants are some of the most common forms of traditional healers in Africa.

 


Traditional healers play an important role in Tanzania, like in many other African countries, and are strongly rooted in the country’s culture and history. People in some remote areas seek health or vision therapy from Traditional Healers rather than public or professional health clinics recognized by the government since transportation and treatment costs are prohibitive. Because they are the first point of contact for patients, it is critical that they be capable of providing good eye care.

ECF went through a pilot project with government backing to train traditional healers for early identification and to refer patients with eye disorders in the community to appropriate services. This effort was carried out to increase understanding and ensure that all patients with eye problems receive priority referral from Traditional Healers. Thanks to Dam to Dam Run 2023 and our generous contributors, we will train 240 Traditional Healers in the next months.

The training will provide them with valuable and government-recognized skills. It will also inspire them to provide more referral education to patients. It will take decades for this project to transform the behavior and culture of Tanzanians. However, we feel that with this training, our Traditional Healers are now part of the team in accelerating efforts to improve eye care services in Morogoro, Tanzania.

Traditional Healers on home visit for follow up