BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
EPIDEMIOLOGY and disease control director in the Health and Child Care ministry, Portia Manangazira, has emphasised on the need for the unification of traditional and conventional medicines in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Addressing a workshop in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Manangazira said there was need to ensure the maximum use of locally available medicines and herbs in the supportive care and management of COVID-19 patients.
She said her ministry had harnessed traditional medical practitioners, conventional medical practitioners and their communities together so that dual intervention is done to mitigate COVID-19.
“So we must start, we should have continued and furthered that, and today, we would be having even a large manufacturing plant which we say, it’s our marula tree or some other nutritious shrub,” she said.
“Sometimes we end up having healthy animals and malnourished people and we haven’t really explored that. All I am saying is, we are living and failing to utilise our locally available medicines.”
She said it was worrisome that the ministry had not taken traditional medicine on board.
“We do have a lot of herbs and they form raw materials for the pharmaceuticals. If I heard correctly, the International Traditional Healers Association leader said uMsuzwane has got some anti-ceptive properties, a bit disappointing is that we have not taken our traditional medicine a step further so that we describe and display the content and the ingredients in the market places.”
Manangazira said the late former Health minister Herbert Ushewokunze attempted to introduce the system, but died before his ideas were adopted.
“I think we are also in the right place because at some time, we had a former Minister of Health, the late Herbert Ushewokunze. He operated the Marondera Clinic here in Bulawayo and that clinic was unique. It would treat you for modern medicine if you so wished or for traditional medicine and he had labels on his containers, but he died and that practice also died with him,” she said.