HIV/AIDS and TB patients form part of the communities consulting both allopathic and traditional health practitioners. The study examined existing relationships between traditional and allopathic health practitioners, as they both manage HIV/AIDS and TB patients. The study aim was to develop a model for collaboration between allopathic and traditional health practitioners in the management of HIV/AIDS and TB patients in the Vhembe district, Limpopo Province.
Participatory action research design was used. The study was conducted in three phases following the decision taken by the stakeholders during the consultative meetings. The first phase involved the training of 437 traditional health practitioners on HIV/AIDS and TB diseases, and also assessed their knowledge levels, beliefs and practices about the HIV/AIDS and TB. The HIV/AIDS and TB training workshops prepared the traditional health practitioners for group discussions with number of allopathic health practitioners in the second phase. The second phase explored their perceptions and experiences of collaboration in the management of HIV/AIDS and TB patients, identified strategies for collaboration.
The findings confirmed that collaboration was long overdue, and it created an opportunity to build relationship to address challenges of patients secrecy, treatment overdose and abandonment of ARV treatment. They explored how they could work together in the fight against HIV/AIDS and TB infections. Change of mindset through the decolonization process was decided as the best suitable approach moving forward.
Based on the findings of phases one and two, the third phase, which is a COHORT model for collaboration between allopathic and traditional health practitioners in the management of HIV/AIDS and TB patients was developed and described.