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Traditional healers, still part of the community health systems in the Andes
  1. J J Miranda,
  2. H Nuñez,
  3. A Alca
  1. Peruvian Programme, Health Unlimited, Ayacucho, Peru

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    Traditional medicine in the Andes moves us automatically to the figure of traditional healers, and, in some cases, automatically to censure their work. Albeit they have been present in the community health system for many years, they do not seem to fit into the modern model of medicine and health care. Nevertheless, they retain years of knowledge about the use of local medicinal plants. The knowledge differs between traditional healers from different places; accordingly, for example, to the proliferation of flora at certain altitudes. Most of them act as “hidden agents” and only become “visible” when peasants with specific “problems for the traditional healer” need them. We intended—through a respectful approach that recognises the value of their experience—to demonstrate their resources commonly used for certain conditions, to share between them their knowledge, and to teach young people. The picture shows a traditional healer (man, standing on the left) from Ccatupata community during a community exhibition and exchange of medicinal plants.

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