More needs to be done to pro­mote use of tra­di­tional medicine

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

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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