Traditional Medicine

Doctors For Life accused of sabotaging traditional healers

Traditional healers’€™ are accusing medic group, Doctors For Life, of opposing every attempt aimed at giving traditional healers the same legal recognition as that of Western medical practitioners.

The audio is in isiZulu. See English summary below.

MABUTHO: UMn Isaac Maepa ongusekela sihlalo we National Traditional Healers’€™ Association, uthi nakuba ikhona imizamo eyenziwa uhulumeni ukunikeza abelaphi bendabuko amandla afanayo nabelaphi besilungu, kepha inkinga enkulu ukuthi iDoctors For Life ivimba kwasani okuphathelene nabelaphi bendabuko.Uthi isibonelo salokhu akhuluma ngakho ukuvinjwa kokuphasisiwa komthethosivivinywa iTraditional Health Practitioners’€™ Bill okwakuhloswe ngawo ukuthi abelaphi bendabuko bathathwe njengabelaphi abafanayo nodokotela besilungu, ngenxa yesimangalo esifakwe iDoctors For Life enkantolo yomthethosisekelo. UMn Maepa uthi ngisho nangesikhathi kunezithangami zokulalelwa kwalomthethosivivinywa ephalamende, lenhlangano yayibonisa unya nenzondo ekuvimbeni lomthethosivivinywa.

ISAAC MAEPA: I remember during the public hearings in parliament. They were so vicious and venomous in opposing the whole thing, (saying) that ‘€˜you can’€™t recognize these people, these are murderers’€™. Recently, they went to the Constitutional Court (to oppose the bill). And it has been stopped for about 18 months now. We can’€™t form a Council, we can’€™t register the healers and we can’€™t classify them according to their specialization. We are just stuck now. We don’€™t know what is happening.

MABUTHO: Kodwa uDr Moses Thindisa osekomidini eliphezulu enhlanganweni iDoctors for Life uthi inhlangano yakhe ayixabene nabelaphi bendabuko kepha kukhona izinto ezithile okumele zilungiswe ngaphambi kokuba banikezwe amandla alinganayo nalawo odokotela baseNtshonalanga njengokwezimiso zomthethosivivinywa i Traditional Health Practitioners’€™ Bill.

DR MOSES THINDISA: Siyamukela ukuthi bakhona futhi angeke bahambe. Kodwa into esithanda ukuyibona yenzekala ukuthi imithi lena abayisebenzisayo iye elaboratory   kube nemeasurement. Kodwa manje uvele ungene bakunikeze imithi lemithi ayihloliwe kusasa kuba nomonakala umuntu ulimele usesibhedlela unenkinga ngezinso zakhe okanye isibindi sakhe asisasebenzi ngenxa yalemithi. Ileyonto esifuna ukuthi ilungiswe before ama traditional healers angathathwa ukuthi asize ngezempilo.

MABUTHO: UDr Thindisa uthi enye inkinga ekhona ukuthi abalaphi bendabuko bathola imiyalelo yabo emadlozini okanye kwabangasekho okwenza kube nzima ukuthi kutholakale umuntu ozosolwa uma kukhona okungahambanga kahle ngesikhathi kulashwa umuntu ogulayo.

DR MOSES THINDISA: Bathola ama instructions noma idirection  kuma spirit. Manje inkinga ekhona uma besiza umuntu kuba nomonakala ubani ozomela leyondawo yokuthi imina engikhiphe i direction yokuthi kusetshenzwe kanje. Inkinga awukwazi ukuthi ubize umoya uthi uze etafuleni sihlale sibonisane ukuthi inkinga ivele kanjani. Angithembi ukuthi nabo bangayiphendula leyonto ukuthi amadlozi ungawaletha kanjani etafuleni sizohlala nawo, sikhulumisane nawo ukuthi lomuntu aze alimale ngalendlela bekutheni?

MABUTHO: Khonamanjalo uPhephisile Maseko okhulumela enye inhlangano yabelaphi bendabuko iTraditional Healers’€™ Organisation (TH0) uyakuhlaba uyakuhlukiza okushiwo iDoctors For Life. Uthi lenhlangano kumele iqonde ukusebenza kwabelaphi bendabuko ngaphambi kokuba igxeke ukusebenza kwabo.

PHEPHISILE MASEKO: Angeke kufike iDoctors For Life izotshela inyanga yesintu ukuthi kumele  ipractice kanjani, inhlamba leyo ebunyangeni. Uma ngabe uThindisa efuna ukuhlonipheka njengodokotela wesilungu kufuneka azi ukuthi izinyanga uzifice zila uzozishiya futhi zila. Okokuqala kumele iDoctors For Life ibe transformed. IDoctors For Life ikhungethwe kakhulu ngabelungu abavela eNtshonalanga. So that is why benga understand ukuthi thina singabobani sifuna ini. Bafuna ukusitshela ukuthi kwenzeke kanjani. That is why iDoctors For Life ihlukile ngombono wayo ne South African Medical Association. Ihlukile ngoba kunenkinga ye ideology yokuzwisisa ezinye izinto zaseSouth Africa. Okwesibili kumele azi (uDr Thindisa) ukuthi kunobusayensi ebunyangeni besintu. Akukho umuntu ozositshela ukuthi kumele isayensi ibe good uma yenziwa ngabobani – umhlola lowo.

MABUTHO: Maqondaba nokuthi ayikho indlela yokulawula abelaphi bendabuko ngenxa yokuthi imiyalelo yokwelapha bayithola kwabangasekho oka Maseko uthi nakuba bengenalo uhlaka lokulawula abelaphi bendabuko kepha banazo izindlela zokuvimbela abelaphi ukuba bangenzi okuphambene nokwelapha.

PHEPHISILE MASEKO: Inyanga nazo njengabelaphi besilungu, kwaTHO nje uma ngingenza isibonelo, kune code of ethics okusho ukuthi uma ulilunga le THO ulapha ngalendlela awulaphi ngalendlela. I think lokho ku Fair enough.

MABUTHO: UDr Thindisa athi bona njengenhlangano iDoctors for Life kabanankinga ngabelaphi bendabuko inqobo nje uma bengalungisa lezizinto abakhala ngazo, nje ngokuhlolwa kwemithi yesintu.

DR MOSES THINDISA: Akukhona ukuthi silwisana nabo kepha kasiqapheleni ukuthi lababantu esithi siyabasiza, the patients, bathola izinto ezi testiwe izinto ezizoletha impilo, izinto ezikwenza isiqinisekiso ukuthi lababantu abalimali. Lemithi yabo siyazi ukuthi  isikhathi esiningi abantu bathola izinkinga zesibindi nezinso ngoba lezizinto azizange zi testiwe.

MABUTHO: Kuzokhumbuleka ukuthi umthethosivivinywa iTraditional Health Practitioners Bill wamiswa inkantolo yomthethosisekelo emva kwesimangalo seDoctors For Life.   Inkantolo yomthethosisekelo yathola ukuthi umkhandlu omele izifundazwe awuzange unikeze umphakathi ithuba elanele ukuba uphawule ngalomthethosivivinywa ngaphambi kokuba uyiswe ephalamende. Inkantolo yomthethosisekelo yabe seyinxusa ukuthi kuhle lomthetho umiswe izinyanga eziyishumi nesishagalombili kuze kuba zonke izinto ezifanelekile ziyenziwa   ngaphambi kokuba uphasiswe lomthethosivivinywa.

English summary.

Doctors’€™ organization accused of sabotaging traditional healers

Traditional healers’ are accusing medic group, Doctors For Life, of opposing every attempt aimed at giving traditional healers the same legal recognition as that of Western medical practitioners.

The deputy chairperson of the National Traditional Healers’€™ Association (NTHA), Isaac Maepa has accused Doctors For Life of contemptuously opposing the Traditional Health Practitioners’€™ Bill, which is aimed at giving traditional healers the same legal recognition as that of Western medicine-practitioners and to regulate the practice.

‘€œI remember during the public hearings in parliament. They were so vicious and venomous in opposing the whole thing, (saying) that ‘€˜you can’€™t recognize these people, these are murderers’€™. Recently, they went to the Constitutional Court (to oppose the bill). And it has been stopped for about 18 months now. We can’€™t form a Council, we can’€™t register the healers and we can’€™t classify them according to their specialization. We are just stuck now. We don’€™t know what is happening,’€ he said.

However, Dr Moses Thindisa, an executive member of Doctors For Life told Health-e that his organization has nothing against traditional healers, except that they would like their practice to follow scientific standards if they are to be given the same legal status as the Western medicine-practitioners.

‘€œWe do accept the fact that they have been here from time immemorial and that they won’€™t disappear. But we would like their medications to be tested in laboratories before being given to the people. But unfortunately for now their medication remains untested. At some point you find that some people get sick and have to be treated in hospitals after taking untested medications. We want those things to be sorted out first, before they can be given legal recognition,’€ he said.  

Dr Thindisa says another challenging factor about traditional healers is that they rely on ancestors for instructions in their practice ‘€“ which make things difficult when somebody has to be called to account.

‘€œThey get instructions from the spirits. Now, when something goes wrong, who is going to be accountable and say ‘€˜it’€™s me who gave that instruction’€™? You can’€™t call ancestors to account, even the traditional healers themselves know that,’€ he said.

Responding to the concern by Doctors For Life, Phephisile Maseko, the spokesperson of the Traditional Healers’€™ Organization said Doctors For Life is not qualified to question the integrity of traditional healers’€™ practice.

‘€œDoctors For Life does not have a right to tell traditional healers how to practice their profession. That is an insult. Dr Thindisa should know that traditional healers have been practicing their profession before the arrival of Western medicine – and they are here to stay. First of all Doctors For Life need to be transformed because it has a number of white doctors from the West who do not understand us. That is why their ideology differs from that of the South African Medical Association (SAMA) because they don’€™t understand South African issues. Secondly, Thindisa must know that there is science in the traditional healing practice – it’€™s just that they want to prove it in their own way. We don’€™t accept that,’€ said a fuming Maseko.

Maseko agrees that traditional healers don’€™t have a self-monitoring structure, however, she says ‘€˜traditional healers, like Western practitioners do have a code of ethics, which has guidelines of what to do and what not to do’€™. And ‘€œI think that is fair enough,’€ she said.

Meanwhile, Dr Thindisa says Doctors For Life   do not have a problem with traditional healers’€™ practice, but they want to ensure the safety of patients. ‘€œWe’€˜re not fighting them, but we need to be careful that our patients get tested medication that will give assurance that they get healed, not things that will make them sick. We know that in most cases people who consult traditional healers tend to suffer from liver and kidney diseases because of taking untested medication,’€ said Dr Thindisa.

The Traditional Health Practitioners’€™ Bill was approved by the National Assembly in 2004. However, last year, when the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in an application by Doctors For Life challenging the validity of the Bill, it ruled that the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) had failed to comply with its duty to facilitate public involvement in relation to the Bill, as required by the Constitution. The Bill was then declared invalid. The order of invalidity was suspended for a period of 18 months to enable Parliament to follow the provisions of the Constitution.

 

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