More needs to be done to promote use of traditional medicine
OVER the past few months, Zimbabwe has been experiencing a number of problems in the health sector ranging from inadequate supply of drugs, their high cost, to issues related to general personnel welfare and that has somehow hamstrung the country’s health delivery system.
And because of the myriad of problems people often talk of the current situation as a time not to get ill. But sickness just comes uninvited and when it does, very rare would people ignore it, it forces people to panic and run around looking for solutions.
The problems that the country is experiencing in so far as supply of drugs and their cost, however, presents a perfect opportunity for the Government and other stakeholders to promote the use of traditional medicine which has been pushed to the periphery by conventional drugs.
But prior to the advent of science and research that birthed conventional drugs that people so much rely on, large numbers of African families (both rural and urban) used traditional medicine for their health care, much so because it is accessible, affordable, culturally appropriate and acceptable.
The feeling in Government is that although the use of traditional herbs and medicine remains a personal option, there is a need for heightened effort in conscientising the communities that traditional medicine is not demonic as otherwise portrayed by some church beliefs.
“The Government recognises the use of traditional herbs in health care systems. We have been conscientising the country’s communities but of course its use is underpinned by people’s belief systems and orientation that determines acceptability. Otherwise a lot of homes in the country are aware of the herbs and traditional medicines and what they can cure. We have therefore made efforts of ensuring that there is harmony between health care service providers by educating people that traditional medicine is not evil or demonic as taught by some churches. They are biblical,” said acting director Traditional Medicine in the Ministry of Health and Child, Care Mr Onias Ndoro.
He said they were working with other stakeholders in lobbying for more to be done to promote appropriate use of traditional medicine and to fit its use in the country’s health vision.
Mr Ndoro said the reason why traditional medicine survived to this day was that it had been effective.
Renowned herbalist and director of Musimboti Traditional Science and Technology Institute Mr Morgan Zimunya said it is folly for anyone to claim that herbs and traditional medicine do not work when populations in countries like India and China that are relied upon in medicine are known power houses of traditional medicine.
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