The important role for indigenous knowledge
As we listen to HIV-positive people anywhere in the developing world, we learn that they use traditional remedies to help them cope. This is true whether or not they are on anti-retroviral therapy.
TICAH trains HIV support groups throughout Kenya on the choices available to them, and how they can best protect their own health and the health of their children. In all of our HIV/AIDS training and outreach programs, for adults and for children, we therefore involve experts in traditional medicine and foods. We work with traditional healers, herb growers, and herbalists and the organizations representing them.
TICAH facilitates and works with HIV support groups (for women, for men, for children, for youth, for HIV-positive pregnant women, for prisoners) and worked with them to find the best ways to stay healthy. We have collected HIV treatment experiences and have recorded AIDS death stories in our effort to contribute to more inclusive and practical approaches to AIDS treatment and care—in Kenya, and more generally. TICAH has hosted two international symposia on broadening our treatment modalities and our funding strategies to better include traditional medicine in HIV/AIDS care, treatment, and research. We helped convene a four-year cross-regional learning exchange, the Africa-Asia InterAction on AIDS, that focused on “Positive Living” and what it takes to live positively in our different contexts.
Together with colleagues at Tulane University, we conducted an ambitious research program in 2010 that took a global and a local look at policy, research, and funding environments for enabling integrated patient-centered care and recognizing the role of traditional medicine in that care. We looked at how poor rural AIDS-affected Kenyan households use traditional medicine. Since this time, we have continued to learn about and teach household-level strategies for preventing and treating AIDS-related illness. We continue to listen to positive people’s experiences.