Traditional Bolivian healers tackle diabetes crisis

Bolivia teams up with traditional healers to help diabetics who are cautious of modern medicine.

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    La Paz, Bolivia - Diabetes is fast becoming a national crisis in Bolivia.

    Nearly 500,000 Bolivians, some 4.5 percent of the population, suffer from the disease and a change of diet is being blamed.

    With many diabetics also rejecting modern medicine, the government has teamed up with traditional healers to tackle the growing health crisis.

    "For me, it's important to incorporate ancestral teaching ... [patients] can heal with plants and herbs," said German Mamani, a specialist in traditional medicine.

    WATCH: How to fight deadly diabetes? (24:39)

    Up until the 1980s, traditional medicine was outlawed in Bolivia. Now, the government encourages traditional healers to work alongside modern medicine to reach those with diabetes, especially in indigenous communities.

    Merging both traditional healing practices and modern medicine is helping to educate Bolivians on prevention.

    "Bolivia is a predominantly indigenous society and is increasingly using its ancient medicines to tackle a very modern problem," said Mario Vargas, a Kallawaya, or traditional healer, who practises an ancient form of medicine learned from his ancestors and adapts it to the modern world.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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