Strict regulations for faith, traditional healers
Mukudzei Chingwere–Herald Reporter
Stricter regulations are set to be introduced for traditional medical practitioners, with those operating without registration from the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council (PMTC) or those that fail to abide by set regulations in terms of the Traditional Medical Practitioners Act, set to be prosecuted.
The move was announced by Health and Child Care Deputy Minister, Dr John Mangwiro on Tuesday when he spoke at a Traditional Medical Practitioners’ Council stakeholders consultative meeting in Harare.
The new measures to be introduced are informed by the Government’s desire to uphold patient safety. Efforts are underway to remove all challenges that compromise the delivery of quality healthcare, including for people that prefer medical remedies that are not scientifically proven.
Herbalists, faith healers, both from the traditional religion and churches and any other healers, will be targeted by the new measures.
The stakeholders’ meeting brought together traditional healers and Government, and the latter sought to clarify legislation governing traditional medical practice, get contributions from stakeholders and to bring commonality in fishing out unscrupulous practitioners who are endangering patients’ health.
Dr Mangwiro stressed the need for traditional medical practitioners to get basic training in checking basics such as blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse rate and body temperature.
“Ministry of Health and Child Care, together with TMPC’s mandate is to safeguard the public against unscrupulous practitioners who put health of the public in danger,” said Dr Mangwiro.
“The practice of traditional medicine must pass the test of efficacy and safety. THPs (Traditional Health Practitioners) should be trained to provide vital signs for blood pressure, respiration rate, pulse rate and body temperature.
“Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) need help from medical staff to curb mortality rate. They do not have access to birth records and are in short supply of consumables. TMPC inspectors will move around Zimbabwe to enforce practitioners’ compliance.”
Dr Mangwiro bemoaned the growing tendency of church-based healers of disassociating themselves from council business, amid a general view from churches that they cannot associate with those practicing unGodly ways of healing.
“Many churches, church associations and faith healers are operating illegally as they have not been registered with TMPC and do not possess healers’/ faith licences authorising them to practice.
“May I inform you that it is a legal requirement to register with the TMPC in terms of the Act and it is a criminal offence to practice or give services without a valid licence.
“No Association or practitioner is allowed to operate without having registered with TMPC and possessing practicing licence for the year. One of the obvious consequences of a non-regulated profession was that practitioners could not effectively be held accountable for their wrongful acts or omissions,” said Dr Mangwiro.
The Ministry of Health got a new board in 2021, with a mandate to transform the operations of the TMPC and ensure that traditional medicine was integrated into the formal healthcare as enunciated in the National Health Strategy 2021 to 2025.