By Fungai Jachi

STRATEGIES to enhance the role of traditional medicine in the country’s health system, took centre stage when Zimbabwe joined other African countries in commemorating African Traditional Medicine Day this Wednesday.

The government was challenged to strengthen collaboration between science, technology, and innovation institutions, traditional health practitioners and the private sector to fast-track research and development as part of efforts to promote the manufacturing of traditional medicine-based therapeutics.

In an interview with ZBC News in Harare this Wednesday, PROMETRA founder Beaven Munyengeterwa whose organisation preserves African traditional medicine, culture, and indigenous science, noted the importance of adopting traditional medicines into the country’s health system.

“What we would like to see happening is the change in the health system where traditional medicines are also used in our hospitals.

“Traditional medicine is not less than medicines used in hospitals. Besides, it is cheap because we have all the resources here. Government should invest in traditional medicines,” he said.

Traditional healers who were part of the commemorations implored the government to support innovations in the traditional medicine sector.

“Of course, people come to get assistance from us and we do help them, but the challenge is that some think it’s a taboo to be treated using traditional medicines.

“We also need the government to consider giving traditional medicines the equal chance in the health sector. We need more innovations and to inform the people to be more receptive to traditional medicine,” said a traditional healer.

Another said, “Our clients are mostly the youths because they feel it’s more private than going to the clinics, which is a problem because people should not be ashamed to use traditional medicine. This is the kind of thinking that we want to change in our people. We should be proud of our indigenous traditional medicines.”

The African Traditional Medicine Day is celebrated on the 31st of August since 2003 to honor the integral role of traditional medicine on the continent.