WHO reports that 80-85% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa receives its health education and health care from traditional healers and traditional medicine practitioners. Traditional healers are geographically well located at the village level, are found in much greater numbers than physicians or nurses, and culturally understood and respected. It is clear with their reach and respectability they are the right messengers for health behavior change. PROMETRA International agrees that for personal behavior or cultural norms to change, it takes “the right message and the right messenger”
To provide the right messages, PROMETRA developed FAPEG – Traditional Healers’ Self-Proficiency Training – a scientifically based, culturally specific, participatory curriculum for non-readers. Since 1999, PROMETRA has trained approximately 18,000 traditional healers and community leaders in HIV/AIDS, natural family planning, MCH, oral rehydration of infants, nutrition and community public health in over 14 countries. These curricula have been endorsed by WHO-AFRO and presented at international conferences. FAPEG is a scientifically based and well evaluated training pedagogy developed specifically for traditional healers, community based leaders and frontline workers. Its natural family planning curriculum was supported by a subcontract from a Tulane and Morehouse School of Medicine award from the Senegal USAID mission. The Ford Foundation supported the HIV/AIDS and MCH curriculum components. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported PROMETRA International to address the myths and misconceptions of immunization usage in Senegal, Benin and Nigeria (Borno State). The standard FAPEG training kit (contained in a backpack) includes a written curriculum – currently available in French, English, Twi and Mina—and a set of related pictorial graphics for use with non-readers. The average 10 day training course includes a KAP study review and a pre & post testing component. PROMETRA International has trained over 18,000 community trainers who have communicated this right message information to hundreds of thousands of Africans through community education sessions in places where individuals live, work, gather water, play, pray and access health care.