Going back to the traditional roots of medicine

Going back to the traditional roots of medicine

Newly awarded traditional health practitioners from the Vaal-Sedibeng that attended the Fundamental Nursing for Traditional Health Practitioners course

By Selina Rapulane

Institute of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Medicine-Dihlare Remedy which is based at Vaal University of Technology’s (VUT) Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park in Sebokeng has a specific focus on traditional knowledge, education training, and authentication of traditional healers’ medicines to ultimately produce and avail these to improve the health statuses of communities. Dihlare Remedy, in partnership with the Vaal University of Technology and The Industrial Development Corporation, held a certification ceremony on 13 April for 92 traditional health practitioners from the Vaal-Sedibeng area who attended the Fundamental Nursing for Traditional Health Practitioners course.

The practitioners were taught about the use of observation skills to detect physical abnormalities by assessing the patients from head to toe. They also assessed them using bio-medical equipment in various basic procedures such as taking and reading of the patient’s temperature, pulse and respiration. They were taught wound care and how to give care and support to those affected and infected with HIV/AIDS. This included communication skills development.

The ceremony was held at the VUT Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park, where the students had attended their classes.

Prof Bobby Naidoo was the Master of Ceremonies and he introduced the speakers. First up was Professor Martha Pinkoane: Clinical Manager at Dihlare. She introduced a few candidates who have helped to make the project successful. Among those called upon were Prof Raymond Mabuza: Dean of the Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences, Prof Joseph Modise, Dr Joseph Molete: Executive Director and Mr Hendrik Van Der Merwe: Operations Manager.

The ceremony was graced by the presence of Member of the Mayoral Community (MMC) Ms Makgoma Raikana. She addressed the graduates about belief and community involvement. “We need to work together with our government to do more. After helping a patient, please don’t tell them that they should stop going to other health care facilities. Let’s help the community both sides,” she said.

The following speaker was Mr Bethuel Mohapeloa: Coordinator HIV/AIDS who works with various sectors. He mentioned that he is happy that VUT is helping the traditional healers to improve their knowledge of medicine. He also touched base on intellectual property matters.

The keynote address was delivered by Prof Raymond Mabuza. He encouraged professional links to be forged between businesses, the government, large pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions as well as local communities to expand in order to develop herbal medicines in the right direction that can be trusted by all various consumers.  “Organic chemistry, gene amplification and recombinant procedures should help in the improvement of drugs found in nature. Today we celebrate the graduates that will help improve the community. Traditional medicine is based on traditional knowledge that has developed over the years. I wish you well.’’ He concluded.

Mr Lehlohonolo Lephoto: Chairman of the Executive Committee of Traditional Health Practitioners thanked VUT for welcoming them into their precinct and teaching them about improving their patient care.

“With the knowledge we have gained, let us spread it out and help others in the community. They should know that school is important,” he said.

Sister Bernice Matsoso: Clinician at Dihlare called out the names of the recipients while Prof Mabuza and Dr Tozama Qwebani- Ogunleye, project manager at Dilhare, handed out the certificates.

Closing remarks were delivered by Dr Qwebani- Ogunleye. She thanked Prof Mabuza and Senior Executive Management for accommodating the program. She also thanked the traditional healers for being dedicated to it. The Institute plans to continue training all of South Africa’s traditional healing practitioners (THPs).

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