Right Message, Right Messenger

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.

FAPEG Approach

International  develops the core curricula – language specific for selected nations, culturally appropriate, graphic non-reader and written versions. Small KAP studies are conducted to  allow for the tailoring of the curriculum to country, ethnic and cultural specific situations. These KAP studies  lso will provide a valuable  analysis of currently held beliefs, knowledge levels and misconceptions regarding Ebola, HIV/AIDS  and other modern health practices and disease states.  PROMETRA’s history with executing the FAPEG program provides the skills for selection and training of indigenous trainers. FAPEG trainers are locally recruited in each country, endorsed by traditional medicine organizations and  have skills in training, local language, understanding cultural and religious norms, and local health experiences.


The standard FAPEG model has three levels of execution and impact:

  1. International training session for a set of master trainers from  each nation.
  2. National level train the trainer courses (250-400 trainees per country per year) in partnership with traditional medicine organizations and other project partners
  3. Post training trainer impact at village and community level – organizational training sessions conducted   (Two organizational education sessions/month/trainer) and individual educational impact sessions (20 contacts/month/healer trainer) are required of all FAPEG trainees.

FAPEG Workshop Summary

Number of days per workshop – 10
Maximum number of participants per workshop  – 50

Day 1 – Orientation, Group Introductions, Team Building Exercises, Ceremonies/Rituals
Day 2-4  Curricula Presentations via master trainers – participatory small group technique
Day 5–7 Each trained student must demonstrate capacity by re-teaching part of the scientific curriculum to participants (student teaching).  This exercise is conducted in small groups and overseen and evaluated by the master trainer.  Each  student serves as the “teacher” of the group for a 3 hour session in which his/her presentation, teaching skills, and curriculum content knowledge are evaluated by the master teacher and his/her  peers.
Day 8-9        Oral Examinations – Refresher Sessions
Day 10          Closing Ceremony – Certificate Presentation

Participation and training program for non readers, formatted upon a scientific, cultural appropriate and local language base
Training Themes:

  • Oral Rehydratation for Children
  • Diarrheal Diseases of Children
  • Natural Family Planning
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Hygiene – Public Health
  • Nutrition
  • Immunization

~18,000 healers trained between  1999-2015 throughout Africa
Publication of a curricula training guide and learning materials

FAPEG Method Healers’ Self-Proficiency Training Manuel

PROMETRA believes that positive progress in the area of health care and health education requires two elements: the right message and the right messenger. In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 85% of the population receives their health education and health care from traditional practitioners. Without a doubt, the traditional healer is the right messenger. The right message is a critical component, especially in the fight to overcome the misconceptions and mistruths that are often spread through charlatans. PROMETRA developed the FAPEG curriculum to provide a cultural competent, scientifically sound training program for non-readers. This curriculum covers the subjects of HIV/AIDS, infant oral rehydration, and natural family planning. Since 1999, PROMETRA has trained over 18,000 traditional healers using this curriculum. Formal presentations on the FAPEG teaching method have been made in Japan, Europe, United States and throughout Africa.