Amid the extensive search and trials by pharmaceutical scientists for drugs to cure the Coved-19, traditional healers have slammed government for sidelining them as they were ordered to shut down as the country is on lockdown. While declaring the lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa named health workers in public and private sector in the categories of people who would be exempt from the lockdown.
Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and all medical professionals enlisted to fight coronavirus were also included on the list of essential personnel, but no mention of traditional healers.
This irked many traditional healers who believed they also provide essential services to their patients, some who have no access to private healthcare, they alleged.
Over 200 traditional healers including herbs merchandisers from the iconic Durban Herbal Market were ordered by eThekwini Municipality to vacate their stalls. About a thousand people seek medical attention at the busy market and consult with their respective healers. But with the shutdown on full swing, they would not be able to do so.
Lamulani Majozi, Chairperson of the Durban Herbal Market committee said they were disappointed that they were not considered as essential service providers while they treat many people who relied on their herbs. When the Sunday Tribune visited the stalls ahead of the lockdown, scores of people converged at their respective healers to get herbs that would last the duration of the lockdown.
Nyembe warned that while the notorious Coved-19 was life-threatening and spreading so fast, the government should not forget that there were also other diseases. We have patients that have faith in our medication. What they must do in the next coming days? Are we sending them to die,?” he asked.
“We have an organised regulatory body, I think we are still being undermined as traditional healers and those that we treat. Many people will be suffering during the lockdown. It happened in such short notice we could not even take some stuff to our homes. We did raise a complaint to the municipality, but were told that there are too many and we could not remain open,” he said.
Bheki Gwala, a spiritual and traditional healer also lamented about the closure of the stall. He claimed that he consult over 15 patients daily. Gwala believed that traditional healers have something to offer in the crisis while the search for Covid-19 cure was on.
“I agree that western medicine is scientific and well-researched. But it is unfair to rule out the traditional herbs. If we were not making difference, all our patients spent their hard-earned money on our herbs would have stopped coming here a long time ago.
Many are going to suffer while we are on lockdown. I believe we offer the same services, it depends on the individual’s preferences. Unfortunately those who prefer our herbs will suffer. We understand government efforts but I do not think the decision was in the best interest of all citizens,” Gwala added.
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Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening when he addressed the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) at the Doornkop army base, south of Johannesburg, just hours before the commencement of the lockdown urged the SANDF to nudge citizens in the right direction and remind them why you are doing your duty. Read more