Manto backs traditional medicine

2008-02-25 00:00

DESPITE being ridiculed and criticised by some for her endorsement of traditional medicine, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has vowed not to give in to her detractors.

“We are not simply going to give way purely because of the humiliation we get subjected to for the things we believe in,” she said.

Tshabalala-Msimang was addressing members of the presidential task team on African Traditional Medicine at the Golden Horse Casino in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.

She told those who attended the three-day gathering that traditional medicine plays a critical role in the country’s healthcare system as an accepted way of life for millions of South Africans.

“As we all know, apart from its medicinal values, African Traditional medicine also defines us as a people.”

The presidential task team, chaired by Professor Herbert Vilakazi, is tasked with making recommendations and producing a draft policy framework for the regulation of the traditional medicine sector. The draft policy will be tabled before the national cabinet on March 5, after which it will be put out for public comment before final approval by Parliament.

Tshabalala-Msimang said the policy and the institutionalisation of traditional medicine will serve to protect not only traditional healers, but also the people who depend on the sector.

“One of the many challenges facing this sector is the daily emergence of charlatans who promise our desperate, help-seeking people all sorts of things that are not practically possible to deliver.”

Key focus areas for the task team include the regulation of the sector and the creation of a traditional medicine institute before the end of the year.

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