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Special Project

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Traditional Healers partner with FHI 360 to provide HIV Services

Entered in Storytelling

Objective

Through photos, examples and voices, this piece tells the story of how FHI 360 works with traditional healers and local clinics in the Dominican Republic to provide HIV services to people who need them.

The piece features Matilde Brand Beltré, a traditional healer in the Dominican Republic who was trained by FHI 360 to recognize signs of HIV in her clients and refer them for testing. The piece also describes how our work with healers and local clinics is an extension of the integrative medicine teams of the clinics in FHI 360’s HIV Service and Systems Strengthening project, funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Doctors, nurses, psychologists, peer educators and nutritionists work together to help patients. Empathy is the central tool they use to connect with the patients.

 

Strategy

The piece features real-life examples to highlight how FHI 360 is helping solve problems that affect real people. The piece especially focuses on Matilde Brand Beltré, a traditional healer in the Dominican Republic, and her influence in the community. “[My clients] are ashamed and don’t want other people to know that they have something. I have to try to convince them to go [to the clinic],” she says. The healers receive compensation for each coupon that results in a person visiting a clinic for an HIV test.

When Brand notices possible signs of HIV in a client, she says, “First, I come out of my trance. Then I start explaining to them that I think they have a disease that can kill them if they don’t take care of themselves. I encourage them to get tested, and I tell them that if they are positive, it doesn’t kill people anymore because there’s medication.”

Already, referrals from traditional healers are making a difference: In the first quarter of 2022, USAID’s partners, FHI 360 and Batey Relief Alliance (BRA) Dominicana, tested 119 individuals at risk of contracting HIV, identified seven new HIV cases and linked six of those people to lifesaving antiretroviral treatment.

 

Results

We debuted this piece during the 24th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2022), where we presented FHI 360’s successful work in delivering HIV services around the world. We promoted the piece on our social media channels during AIDS 2022 and saw an uptick in visits to our HIV hub on fhi360.org.
 

Media

Entrant Company / Organization Name

FHI 360

Link

Entry Credits