Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries founder Prophet Walter Magaya has not yet approached the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe to register his traditional herbs which he claimed cured HIV/AIDS, legislators heard yesterday.
The authority’s managing director, Ms Gugu Mahlangu, said it was strange that despite Prophet Magaya’s claims that the root was indigenous and found in Zimbabwe, the drug was manufactured in India.
Prophet Magaya’s company was recently convicted and fined $700 for failing to register the drug which he claimed cured HIV/AIDS. Ms Mahlangu said this while giving oral evidence before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care.
Legislators wanted to know why the authority was not licensing traditional medicines in the wake of the high costs of Western drugs. They also wanted to know what had become of Prophet Magaya’s Aguma.
“Aguma did not come through us. It came through the backdoor when it is supposed to come to us us. Apparently it is from a root that is indigenous to the country but studies, the prophet claims, were done elsewhere. He has not given us the studies yet, so we are still waiting for the product but we were involved in that whole saga because obviously he was making claims,” said Ms Mahlangu.
She said the challenges with traditional medicines were that practitioners were hesitant to submite their herbs to testing.
“Our traditional medical practitioners do not seem keen to come forward to have their medicines for registration. We now have a new avenue that relates to complementary medicine, so they will fall under complementary medicine. We have had one, though, who has come through and he is going to manufacture locally. We have inspected his facility. He was doing it from his garage and we said no and urged him to find a suitable place and inspectors gave him guidelines then he found premises in Murehwa and inspectors went there last week,” said Ms Mahlangu.
“I think inspectors will be assisting him to make sure premises meet the requirements. He will be the first one and we hope he will be the trendsetter. The challenge with complementary medicine is that we do not know about the therapeutic efficacy of the product.
“All we can say is that it appears to be safe. It does not appear to contain any dangerous substances, so it can be allowed to be used,” she said.