Traditional Healers vs Technology : you are never too old to learn

Categories: Community Engagement.

Who would of thought that a cellphone would play such an important role in our lives? Without it we wouldn’t be able to:

1. Solve a maths question.

2. Wake up in the morning to an alarm.

3. Find our way in the dark.

These are just some examples how powerful it could be. My son, 6 years old recently showed me how to take a “screenshot” on a cellphone – something I never thought about unless I took the time to read through the manual. Even setting up a password couldn’t keep him from accessing my phone as he would silently from a distance watch me insert my secret code and remember it.In my opinion I always assumed that these gadgets are geared towards the younger generation but was I proven wrong.

On the 28 & 29 July 2014, I had the privilege of training Traditional Healers on a SMS system at Msunduzi Hospice in KZN which was launched earlier this year to help access information on palliative care through a cellphone. This system is a platform where it assists anyone with information pertaining to a situation they are faced with and not sure what to do when visiting a patient. For example, if a traditional healer is visiting their patient and the patient is suffering from severe pain and the healer is not sure how to control the pain, he/she will pull out the pocket size code chart,insert  the code and send it to the system and within 60 seconds they will get a response with steps to follow.

At first I thought this was going to be very challenging for me to teach these traditional healers on how to use this system as they only spoke/understood izulu and because they were not as young as I thought . Well i was proven wrong. The morning started out with a prayer and song and this just made the atmosphere so perfect! I then did a ice-breaker and asked each one what they like and dislike about their cellphones. Most of the responses that came out was that they could connect with their patients if they needed to and for some dislikes: ” i don’t like receiving a please call me message if i know you do have money to call me” and the scam messages they would receive  ” you have won  R50 000″ . There was laughter around the room as most of them shared similar likes and dislikes. It has proven to me that these Traditional Healers are very much up to date with technology.

Feedback on the system from the healers was very positive as they felt that they have benefited a lot form it and have also empowered them to use their cellphone more. We are hoping to extend this to much more healers.


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