Integrating modern medical knowledge into traditional medical practice (4) Training traditional healers in eye health

10 July, 2018

Hi Neil and HIFA colleagues,

The eye-health sector (particularly in Africa) recognized about two decades ago that working with traditional healers is critical for community eye health, not only because people have enormous faith in traditional medicine, but also because with so few providers of 'modern medicine', traditional healers are the only point of care.

This shift in mindset led to a marked reduction in the risk of 'harmful eye treatments' that result in irreversible vision loss, as traditional healers began recognizing what they could manage and what needed referral for specialist care.

Some publications are referenced below.

Traditional eye medicine use by newly presenting ophthalmic patients to a teaching hospital in south-eastern Nigeria: socio-demographic and clinical correlates

Changing patterns of corneal disease and associated vision loss at a rural African hospital following a training programme for traditional healers.

Best wishes,


Dr. Noela Marie Prasad

HIFA profile: Noela Prasad is an Ophthalmologist with training in community eye health. Currently on the Medical Advisory team with The Fred Hollows Foundation, and holding an honorary position with the Centre for Eye Research Australia (University of Melbourne), her professional interests include Health Research, Evidence Based Policy and Practice, Ethics and Health Literacy. noelaprasad AT