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Faith healing is the treatment of illness through religious belief or prayer rather than through modern biomedical prac-tice (Hall, 2010). It is a well-established global phenomenon whose effect on global health initiatives in developing countries remains largely unknown. Though often dismissed by health organizations, the emergence and prevalence of faith healers in areas such as South America and East Africa has had an incom-parable impact on the cultural understanding of disease and treatment. Indeed, the widespread notoriety of such figures of-ten translates into a form of credibility, allowing their ideas to pervade popular culture (Hall, 2010).
Specifically, the recent rise to fame of Babu of Loliondo, a Tanzanian faith healer who claims to have the ability to cure HIV, has created a cultural and logistical crisis for NGOs and other health organizations working with rural communities in Tanzania, particularly in the area of education (Ibrahim, per-sonal communication, 2011 July 9). The impact of Babu’s faith healing on HIV education efforts in rural communities high-lights the need for global health organizations to acknowledge faith-based phenomena. In turn, this will facilitate collaboration with these communities as how best to address the problems posed by Babu and similar faith-based figures.