EYEAFRICA TV: Johannesburg, South Africa: Traditional medicine is still being widely used in South Africa, as governments across the African government are starting to increasingly recognize the big role played by such traditional health practices.
Since January, at least half a dozen countries have begun the process of registering practitioners and have increased oversight in the sector in a bid to standardize treatment and also deal with charlatans.
African traditional medicine has been used for the treatment of diseases long before the advent of mainstream medicine. And with South Africa being endowed with many plants which can be used for medicinal purposes, the industry is big business in the country.
The annual turnover from the sector reportedly exceeding 18 billion rand or about 1.23 billion U.S. dollars. The figure was based on a study conducted by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, which is an institute that contributes to South Africa’s sustainable development by facilitating access to biodiversity data, generating information and knowledge, and many other key areas.
That study also revealed that there are about 200,000 registered traditional healers across the country who serve some 70 percent of the population.
“Our traditional medicine is very important. A great number of South Africans come here to get traditional medicine. We are good and we know it. We help a lot of people. The whole country has people like me who offer this essential service,” said Gogo Mpenza, a traditional healer.
The South African government is one of the few to have made significant progress in including traditional health practices in the mainstream health care system. The country has done this by using the law as a tool for formal integration.