Thursday, October 28, 2021

Lack of law on indigenous medicine hampers research

The absence of law on indigenous health hampers research on traditional medicine, University of Botswana (UB) molecular cell biologist, Professor Kristine Marobela has said.
Making a presentation at UB on Monday on indigenous medicine, Marobela said the problem in Botswana is that there is no legal framework for indigenous health research. She said this makes it difficult for researchers to get financing.
“To get foreign aid will be problematic particularly where indigenous plants are involved,” she said.
Marobela said government drafted the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill around 1989 and it has never been presented to Parliament. She said she participated in the consultation process but government may have been over cautious to bring it to Parliament because of HIV/AIDS issues that arose during Thabo Mbeki’s tenure as president in South Africa.
Marobela said without such legislation in place, it will always be problematic for researchers to do their best in finding solutions to illnesses that affect the society.
She said so far, about eight traditional healers are documenting patients’ outcomes particularly in sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) but the stumbling block is lack of legislation.
On malpractice by some traditional doctors, Marobela said like in any practice, there is malpractice in traditional healing, especially in HIV/AIDS.  She said there has to be evidence-based practice and for it to be effective there must be practice-based evidence by engaging the community and making awareness on traditional healing.
“The main thing that must be done is to take traditional medicine out of the grey zone of HIV treatment,” she said.
Commenting on seromobadimo, a herb which Palapye herbalist, Gladys Malebo claims that it cures HIV/AIDS, Marobela said currently there is no evidence that the herb interferes with the lifecycle of the virus.
“We do not know how the mixing is done, the woman just came with the complete mixture,” she said.
Malebo had told a local newspaper that her herb cures HIV/AIDS as it cured many people who had been clinically diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

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