Tuberculosis (TB) in Tanzania, one of the countries most burdened with TB, is declining partly thanks to traditional healers.
“There has been a 52 percent reduction in TB deaths from 55,000 in 2014 to 26,800 in 2020,” the Tanzanian Ministry’s website states. “Citizens’ awareness of the disease should be increased by enabling them to understand that diagnosis and treatment is provided for free,” adds Ms. Lissa Melele of the Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College. Tanzania is enlisting the help of traditional healers – those without necessarily medical training – to relay this awareness to the general public.
Additionally, traditional healers are oftentimes able to identify TB cases and begin treatment while the patient waits for treatment in a hospital. The Tanzanian government itself has emphasized the importance of practitioners collaborating with traditional healers. “Traditional healers should be the bridge in identifying people with TB in the country as the war against the disease is intensified,” adds Melele. Tuberculosis remains one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.