TRADITIONAL healers in KwaZulu-Natal are using their skills to educate the elderly about HIV-Aids and its prevention.

The healers joined hands with the Muthande Society for the Aged (Musa) at a workshop held yesterday to discuss the stigma of the disease and the raising of grandchildren left orphaned by the pandemic.

"South Africa has more than 48million people and a large number of orphans and people dying of HIV-Aids come from KwaZulu-Natal," said Thoko Molefe, coordinator of skills development at Musa.

Safe care

He said the workshop with the health practitioners was to make the elderly understand that the role of traditional healers has changed for the best.

Musa is an organisation that has existed for 28 years and it wants to make certain the elderly get proper and safe care consulting sangomas.

"Many of the elderly use the services of traditional healers," Molefe said.

"We have made it our duty to train healers and to find out how much they know about being cautious and promoting safe habits.

"A lot must be done to see to it that there will be an HIV-free generation."

Zandile Dlamini, 75, said: "Our minds have been opened and I make a point of preaching to other grannies to be cautious.

"We really have to change the mindset that if you use gloves taking care of your loved ones it means you hate them. We are just protecting ourselves ."

Healer Nonkululeko Mbali said traditional healers had changed and were considering better safety measures.

"We are not saying we can cure the disease, but we can help people to live a healthy and normal life."