BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
TRADITIONAL and complementary medical practice in the country is grossly underfunded, Parliament has been told.
This was revealed by Mhangura legislator Precious Chinhamo-Masango, while presenting a second report by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care on the development and promotion of traditional and complementary medicines in the
Chinhamo-Masango, a member of the committee, said it was worrying that no land was dedicated for the growing of herbs for medicinal use in the country.
“The traditional medical practice is often misunderstood due to lack of appropriate information to the generality of Zimbabweans as well as the colonial lenses that are used when looking at this practice,” she said.
“Players in this sector are doing a lot of work on traditional medicines. However, the efforts are uncoordinated and they lack coherence to bring about the much-needed development on this practice.”
Chinhamo-Masango said traditional medical practitioners (TMPs) were limited to functioning without the use of modern basic gadgets like BP machine, thermometer and pulse readers, among others.
“Uncordial work relations between the TMPs and contracted medical practitioners (CMPs) cripple the development and promotion of the traditional and complementary medicines in Zimbabwe,” she said.
“Lack of access to laboratories and ability to read laboratory results, medical insurance as well as non-use of modern medical instruments such as BP machines limit the effectiveness of the traditional medical practice.”
She said non-disclosure of medicinal properties impedes the development of the traditional medical practice in Zimbabwe.
Chinhamo-Masango said negative attitudes towards the traditional medical practice from the media, churches, government and society at large were also a threat to the development of traditional medicines.
“Most of the TMPs are illiterate and this becomes a barrier as they are looked down upon by the CMPs,” she said.
“Political will is lacking in the development and promotion of traditional and complementary medicines as evidenced by the gross underfunding of this sector.”