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Traditional healers: A blessing or curse?

The owners of such adverts often place them at bus stops and market places, where a good number of people will see them. The adverts also carry telephone number contacts. It is not unusual that some of the traditional healers or herbalists also advertise in the media for as little as 1,000/-.

This is a healthy business promotion. According to the survey, the herbalists said that the most common complaint is erectile dysfunction, a terrible condition that reduces men to virtually nothing when it comes to manhood. To a lesser extent, they also claim to have effective cure for high blood pressure and diabetes. Some of the traditional healers even claimed to possess medicine for love, money and fortune for job hunters.

A number of interviewees also admitted that often they cast bad spirits from customers who visit them for this particular service. In the print and electronic media, the healers claim to have a cure for infertility and bedwetting, a cause of sorrow among many a woman.

Our survey also established that a patient seeking traditional medicine treatment pays 10,000/- as consultation fee and 35,000/- as minimum fee when looking for erectile dysfunction cure. Treatment aside, when our reporter went further to assess the environment in which the healers administer their medicines, he found that these mostly “took refuge” in the city’s slums where running water is a nightmare and garbage an eyesore. Proper hygiene was highly questionable.

All the same, the interviewees were legal traditional medicine practitioners with valid certificates issued by the Traditional and Alternative Health Practice Council in the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. We don’t have any quarrel with traditional men and women. Their existence depends on whether or not, people consult them when facing health problems. They would automatically vanish if nobody sought their service.

However, with the increasing needs for a solution to erectile dysfunction in men and infertility in women, chances are that many people may be losing quite a fortune to the medicine men and women. Nobody, except the healers, knows the truth about the dispensed medicine, its composition, efficacy, side effects and such things as date of expiry and actual dosage.

Being on the disadvantage side also means that a patient only pays money to the healer without a slightest hint of the value of the prescribed medicine. For instance, do women really bear children thereafter? Are the men satisfied there is finally a cure? The environment allows such questions because there are no standards and conditions for the healers to adhere to.

Even the council itself seems to have been taken for a ride and has completely forgotten that there is a directive barring traditional healers from advertising their services. Whether there is cure for the set of ailments causing discomfort to a lot of people as claimed by the herbalists, it is up to those who seek their service.

It is, however, the responsibility of the council to make a follow up on the activities of the licenced healers in order to protect desperate people from possible swindlers. Where necessary, if it can be proved that the healers’ services are doubtful, they should be banned altogether.

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Author: EDITOR

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