National AIDS Commission and Partners Conduct HIV and AIDS and PMTCT Training for Traditional and Spiritual Healers and Leaders

HIV and AIDS and PMTCT Training for Traditional and Spiritual Healers and Leaders
HIV and AIDS and PMTCT Training for Traditional and Spiritual Healers and Leaders
Photo Credit: T. Lincoln Reeves

National AIDS Commission and Partners Conduct HIV and AIDS and PMTCT Training for Traditional and Spiritual Healers and Leaders

More than eight hundred traditional and spiritual healers and leaders are being trained on the basic information of HIV and AIDS and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.  The training, which will cover the fifteen (15) counties of Liberia, have already taken place in Bong, Nimba, Bomi, Grand Bassa, Cape Mount and Montserrado Counties.  Participants include pastors and church leaders; spiritual healers, and traditional healers.    

The component of the workshop targeting pastors and church leaders and healers is being conducted by the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) with oversight from the National AIDS Commission, while the aspect targeting traditional healers is being conducted jointly by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the National AIDS Commission. 

The training is being funded by the Global Fund through the National AIDS Commission.

The objective of the training is for traditional and spiritual healers and leaders to help achieve the goal of eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV in Liberia.  The training is also geared towards eradicating HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination in religious settings.          

The workshops are important because spiritual and traditional leaders and healers are influential people who have large followings.  Their orientation in HIV prevention methods and education is therefore necessary to discourage stigma and discrimination and in churches and to enlist the help of the traditional and spiritual healers and leaders in encouraging their followers and clients to be tested and to seek HIV treatment.