Gino Cocchiaro (Natural Justice) attended the AIDS Foundation of South Africa’s (AFSA) biennial Learning and Sharing Conference in Durban, South Africa, on Tuesday, October 26th. One of the goals of the 3-day conference, which was attended by approximately 200 representatives of Indigenous peoples, community-based organizations, and non-governmental organizations, was to share experiences and information on the role that cultural beliefs, practices and Indigenous knowledge play in shaping community and individual perceptions of health and illness.
Gino was invited to speak to participants about Indigenous knowledge systems and the role that they have played and continue to play in achieving well-being and health of communities. In his presentation, Gino also discussed the traditional healers of Bushbuckridge (South Africa), who have used their bio-cultural community protocol to address their shared concerns and engage with stakeholders, including the Government of South Africa, with the aim of working towards the well-being of their community. Other speakers at the conference discussed how cultural benefits and practices can impact health-seeking behaviour and how gender relations impact health promotion and the risk of HIV. The conference will continue over the next 2 days.