Several fans who thronged the Ministry of Health and Child Care stand at the recently ended Agriculture Show at Showgrounds Harare appreciated the Ministry for acknowledging traditional medicine in treatment of patients.

The traditional medicine pavilion of the Ministry of Health proved to be the most popular stand considering the number of turnout at the stand and the zeal exihibited by visitors to know and understand how the traditional medicine were regulated.

Ministry of Health and Child Care previously under (since the cabinet is yet not pronounced following the recent election) the stewardship of Minister and also the Vice President of Zimbabwe, Dominic Chiwenga scooped the best stand prize in the health sector category at the ended Zimbabwe Agriculture Show.

The award is a clear testimony of how the ministry has been traversing the medical landscape in cooperating every medicine and every treatment inorder to safeguard the healthy of the nation.

“The Ministry should be applauded for acknowledging traditional medicines in treatmentment of patients as the modern medicine though refined is also derived from our traditional medicine”, said Mark Muronda who had visited the Health stand at Agriculture Show.

However personnel exhibiting at the Traditional Medicine pavilion outlined the competition between modern doctors, pharmacists and traditional doctors on the use of medicine.

Jennifer Mawuzhendi exhibiting at the Traditional Medicine stand said that, “The main challenge faced is that modern doctors rarely refer patients for traditional medicines but to pharmacies to obtain medication and this had curtailed the growth and popularity of traditional medicine”.

Janet Madamombe a fan at the traditional pavilion said that, “The Ministry is doing a noble thing through the council to ensure the public built confidence in the usage of traditional drugs and also valid information about drugs will not be lost since traditionally the information was passed orally from one generation to another but now records can now be kept by the council”.

The Traditional Medical Practitioners’ Council (TMPCZ) was established as a Department of Traditional Medicine in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in July 1982 to register and administer traditional healers.  

Traditional Medicine being exhibited

Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers’ Association (ZINATHA) was responsible for regulating the usage of traditional medicine from 1982 upto 2005.

From 2005 to present day, the Ministry of Health and Child Care through the council took over regulation and control of traditional medicine.

The council coordinates the policy formulation and code of ethics of traditional healers

Traditional medicine is referred to as the sum of total knowledge and practice on holistic care, recognised and accepted by the community for its role in health delivery and treatment of diseases.

Traditional medicine is based on the theory, beliefs, faith and experiences that are indigenous to the different cultures and which has been developed and handed down from one generation to generation.

The mandate of Traditional Medicine is derive from the Traditional Medical Practitioners Act Chapter 27:14 of 1996.

The Traditional Medicine Council envisages to become Africa’s leading Council through registering and building capacity of all Traditional Medical practitioners in Zimbabwe in an effort to competitively promote greater and safer use of traditional medical practices.

The council is responsible for regulating and controll aimed at achieving safer and efficacious traditional medical practices in Zimbabwe

The Traditional Medical Practitioners Council is open to associations, organizations, and traditional practitioners who are involved in traditional medicine practices.

The council always encourage traditional healers to have their patients diagnosed by medical doctors before starting treatment of patients.

The relationship between medical doctors and traditional healers should be beneficial to patients whereas doctors can refer to traditional healers when need be and vice versa

There is an increase in the numbers of people who seek traditional medicines and confirm the evolving commercial aspects of traditional medicine.

WHO (2009) reported that in some Asian and African countries, 80% of the population depend on traditional medicine for primary health care and that herbal medicines have become a lucrative form of traditional medicine, generating billions of dollars in revenue in most countries. 

Research has attributed the increase in the use of traditional medicine in Zimbabwe to the Government’s legalisation of the traditional healers as alternative primary health care givers.

India, Russia, and China include their traditional medicines in the chemistry curriculum whilst in Africa, Mali and Burundi use traditional medicines to manufacture drugs comparable to western products.

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