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NPR Examines U.S. Project Employing Traditional Healers To Track Plague In Uganda

NPR’s “Shots” blog examines a project through which traditional “healers and herbalists are helping to track down the plague in Uganda for scientists” at the CDC. “Many villages in rural Uganda don’t have medical doctors or nurses to diagnose or treat the plague,” but “many patients do go see their village’s herbalist or healer,” the blog writes, noting medical anthropologist Mary Hayden and her team “trained them to spot potential cases of the plague and other severe diseases and then refer the people for modern medical care.” The blog adds, “The CDC’s network of traditional healers in northwestern Uganda has now referred more than 150 patients to local hospitals, Hayden says. The system even helped the CDC stop a case of pneumonic plague, the airborne form, from spreading through a community” (Doucleff, 11/19).