TRADITIONAL healers must join forces with medical doctors to ensure patients are well supported.
These were sentiments of Ngwelezana Hospital‘s Dr Kenneth Mngoma, speaking at a traditional medicine awareness campaign at Empangeni Civic Centre on Thursday.
With latest statistics showing 80% of Africa’s population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs, the purpose of this drive was to equip healers with vital information on various conditions.
‘Traditional healers are often the only healthcare service available or affordable to our communities and most patients respect them. It is important for us to work together and ensure patients receive the best care,’ Mngoma said.
He emphasised the importance of healers understanding certain symptoms and refer patients to clinic or hospitals for treatment when necessary.
The goal is not to tell people not to visit traditional healers, but to make sure they understand certain symptoms of patients with, for example, TB, malaria and other diseases. ‘With this knowledge, it will be easy for them to identify the patient’s condition and refer them immediately.
‘Most patients are misdiagnosed because of the lack of knowledge. We want healers to understand these things.
‘We want them to understand certain side effects and be knowledgeable about correct medication dosages. In most cases patients end up having renal and liver failure because of overdosing,’ Mngoma said.
Knowing about HIV/Aids and the ARV treatment was also part of Mngoma’s address.
He pleaded with healers to ensure patients continue with their chronic medication.
‘They should help spread the message that people must undergo HIV tests and learn about the virus.’
Mngoma highlighted the important role traditional healers play in communities and said their contributions to the health fraternity must be celebrated.
‘We respect them and want to work together. They must help us get rid of these bogus healers to ensure patients get the best attention,’ he concluded.