The uThukela District Municipality in partnership with the Health Systems Trust held a Traditional Healers Indaba at the Estcourt Town Hall
under Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality where Mayor J Mbhele and uThukela District Speaker PG Strydom, councillors and officials were part of the event.
“It is known that majority of people utilise the services of traditional healers for a variety of reasons ranging from physiological illness to metaphysical issues such as spirits. People have different opinions about traditional healing. Some people advocate for the inclusion of traditional healing into the mainstream primary healthcare system, while others are vehemently against anything pertaining to it,” said Mayor Mbhele.
“Western opinion has generally been skeptical about traditional healthcare practices and healthcare systems, which are considered ‘unscientific’. However, this scepticism does not go unchallenged, with some researchers viewing it as a form of resentment towards traditional African healers which argues that such resentment by the Western culture belongs in the
past due to the development of professionalization among these healers.
“The local government and other bodies have also begun to acknowledge the potential effectiveness of traditional healers as primary healthcare providers and the potential efficacy of their treatments in the fight against illnesses such as Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and other communicable diseases. It is therefore not surprising that traditional healers have undertaken much of the clinical burden resulting from AIDS.
“To relieve this burden, it encouraged the training of more Western-educated health care practitioners as well as reciprocity in the form of referrals of patients between the two healthcare systems. It further encouraged governments to actively recruit traditional healers particularly into their primary healthcare systems. This was an initiative aimed at reducing health disparities among with traditional medicine being expected to play a crucial role in achieving this aim.
“There were concerns from the traditional healers that people think that there are murders carried out for muthi purposes and they wanted to clarify that there are traditional healers who heal people while others are practising witchcraft. As the district, we care about traditional healers and our culture and we also condemn the killing of people with albinism condition for muthi purposes.” said the mayor.