CHS Hosts Traditional Medicine Day Seminar
UKZN’s Traditional Medicine Discipline recently hosted a Traditional Medicine Seminar in celebration of Traditional Medicine Day. The seminar was held at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.
The Dean and Head of School of Nursing and Public Health, Professor Mosa Moshabela emphasised the importance of Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) in society, especially in KwaZulu-Natal where there are more THPs than clinics. ‘A collaboration between the two health systems can lead to better healthcare for the patients,’ he said.
Attended by THPs, academics and the health professionals from eThekwini and surroundings, the seminar celebrated and recognised work done by traditional healers over the centuries. ‘Their work holistically incorporates natural herb ingredients and African spirituality to bring about physical, mental and spiritual healing to individuals,’ Moshabela added.
A number of South Africans make use of traditional healing as a form of healthcare and it is a lifeline to some.
PhD and masters students presented their findings and/or their proposals showcasing the work they have been doing over the years in collaboration with THPs.
Some of these students are conducting laboratory-based research on the efficacy of traditional medicines in the treatment/management of cancer and HIV and also the antifungal, antibacterial properties of the medicines. Others are Social Sciences students who work closely with THPs and nurses who administer their services to their patients.
One of the PhD students and co-author author of the book Traditional Medicine at the Cross-Roads in South Africa: challenges faced by its institutionalisation presented her work in IsiZulu, a language understood by most of the traditional healers.
‘That the implementation of working together with the practitioners and collaboration with the University has been a gradual staggering process as there were many challenges since the inception of this work,’ said the Discipline’s Research Leader Professor Nceba Gqaleni.
‘However, we rose above them and there is no doubt about the positive impact the traditional medicine laboratory has been doing over the years to improve, empower and preserve the indigenous knowledge,’ added Gqaleni.
He thanked guests, especially, traditional healers who opened their hearts and showed kindness by collaborating with the Discipline so that the students can carry on with their projects.
Amongst the guests was Ms Nana Ngobese, the Chair of Eim-Hetep Institute; Mr Thandonjani Hlongwane, Chair of eThekwini THP; Mr Nathi Buthelezi, Chair of KZN THP Forum; Mr Vukani Khoza, Manager for Traditional Medicine at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health; Mr Bruce Mbedzi, Director of Traditional Medicine at the National Department of Health; and Dr Aunkh Chabalala, Director of IK-Based Innovations at the Department of Science and Technology.
Words: Nombuso Dlamini