How conventional Bolivian healers deal with diabetes crisis

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How conventional Bolivian healers deal with diabetes crisis


Bolivia joins hands with traditional healers to help diabetics who are wary of modern medicine.


Diabetes is fast emerging into a national crisis in Bolivia.

Nearly half a million Bolivians, some 4.5% of the total population, suffer from the disease & a change of diet is being held responsible.

With many diabetics also not comfortable with modern medicine, the government has teamed up with traditional healers to deal with the growing & imminent health problem.


“For me, it’s imperative to incorporate inherited teaching … [patients] can heal with plants & herbs,” said German Mamani, a specialist in conventional remedies.

Up until the 1980s, conventional medicine was prohibited in Bolivia. Now, the government encourages traditional practitioners to work alongside contemporary medicine to reach those with diabetes, especially in native communities.

Merging both traditional curative practices & current medicine is helping to educate Bolivians on prevention.


“Bolivia is a largely an indigenous society & is increasingly using its ancient medicines to deal with a very modern problem,” said Mario Vargas, a Kallawaya, or traditional healer, who practises an ancient type of medicine inherited from his ancestors & adapts it to the modern world.

Find out How conventional Bolivian healers deal with diabetes crisis


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