When we talk of traditional medicines, I also wish for us to concentrate on trial because there is need for trials when we are testing these medicines. We should avail hospital wards. We should have a ward where we have all the patients that we are referring to say no, Western medicines have not worked on this one, let us take this patient to this ward where there is a n’anga who work there. I will be waiting and I take my traditional medicine, test them in a controlled manner. What happens is – let me stress this point, you know the Western medicines that we take, some of these medicines do not work for African people because the trials were just done on Caucasians. So, for your own information, there is medicine that works for Caucasian, white people and does not work for Black people. This is why I am saying trials are very important in our own surroundings, in our own temperatures, our own black skin, our own high temperatures of 31degrees Celsius. You test these medicines and find how effective they are. That way, we will come up with traditional medicines that are tested for effective and then we will package them and sell them in pharmacies.
It is sad Madam Speaker, right now, go to Parirenyatwa Hospital, you will find a ward that we have opened that is dedicated for the Chinese traditional medicines – how sad. I am not saying it is bad but we should have started by a ward that has clinical trials for African traditional medicines which is medicines that we grew up taking.
Madam Speaker, I would pause this question to male Parliamentarians in this august House, how many of them have not taken mushonga we musana? Most of them take this mushonga wemusana if you were not aware Madam Speaker. However, I just want to warn them on the dosages, they should be very careful otherwise they will end up with problems but we take them, I am also one of them. I have tested to see how mushonga wemusana works and it works. These are aphrodisiacs.
Coming closer to the pandemic, like our report has mentioned, what led this Committee to then look at what the Government was doing towards the traditional medicines was the use of Zumbani recently in alleviation of COVID-19 symptoms. Zumbani works. We have used it before for fever. So, it actually has some active ingredients that lower temperature. They help for fever.
We should therefore, not discard these medicines in favour of paracetamol and all the western medicines because they are expensive, not accessible but these herbs we have them in abundance, we have them in our gardens and bushes. We are an educated nation but we are not using our education in order to help our country and also the President’s Vision 2030. I think there should be more emphasis, we should put more funding to traditional medicines.
The other problem that we face is the funding problem. It came out clearly in our report. There is very little funding that goes to research on traditional medicines. Coupled with that, there is also mistrust from the so called officials in the Ministry. They do not trust traditional medicines yet they use them in the night.
The other problem that we realised is the problem that there is no coordination in the Ministry of Health. There is a department for traditional medicine but it does not coordinate with other departments, it does not coordinate with the pharmaceutical departments, the medical department and plenty of other departments in the Ministry of Health and Child Care. By so doing, you find that nothing is achieved. Our research in the use of traditional medicines then lags behind.
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