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Free Content Traditional healers participate in tuberculosis control in The Gambia

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SETTING: Twenty-three Gambian villages.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility of involving traditional healers in tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment in The Gambia.

DESIGN: Twenty-eight traditional healers were educated in the recognition of signs and symptoms of tuberculosis and indications for referral. They administered medications to confirmed cases, and were revisited after 1 year to assess knowledge retention.

RESULTS: Over 6 months, the traditional healers referred 66 suspects, from whom eight cases were diagnosed. All were successfully treated. Twenty-three of 24 traditional healers re-interviewed retained appropriate knowledge; 16 continued to refer suspects.

CONCLUSIONS: Traditional healers can play a positive role in tuberculosis control.

Keywords: The Gambia; diagnostic delay; traditional healer; tuberculosis

Document Type: Short Communication

Affiliations: 1: Department of Tuberculosis, Medical Research Council Laboratories, Banjul, Western Division, The Gambia 2: Department of Disease Control, Gambia Government, Banjul, Western Division, The Gambia 3: Department of Tuberculosis, Medical Research Council Laboratories, Banjul, Western Division, The Gambia; and Department of Tuberculosis, Institut de recherche pour le développement, Dakar, Senegal

Publication date: October 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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