Monday, January 5, 2015

Herbal vendors a danger to society

Herbal vendors a danger to society: Zinatha
03/01/2015 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
Weed them out ... Sekuru Peter Shumba Sibanda
THE Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) says vendors who have flooded the streets selling the so called herbs for curing various ailments are a danger to public health as they are neither traditional healers nor herbalists.
Members of the association appealed to relevant authorities to flush out opportunistic vendors who are duping desperate Zimbabweans who can’t afford proper healthcare. spoke to traditional healers Ambuya Constance Chikomo of Budiriro 5 and Sekuru Peter Shumba Sibanda in Mufakose, both of whom expressed their concerns about the influx of what they said were conmen and women.
Ambuya Chikomo who has over 30 years of experience said vendors selling the so called “traditional herbs or medicines” along the streets in central Harare are taking advantage of public desperation caused by economic hardships.
“This is very risky to people’s lives because the said herbs are just tree barks which are being grinded to appear as if they are helpful and genuine yet they are harmful and poisonous,” said Ambuya Chikomo.
She added: “Most of the people who take these concoctions end up coming here to seek assistance after complications because when they go back to the vendors they normally find the vendors having relocated to another street.”
Ambuya Chikomo’s worries are shared by Sibanda who is also the Zinatha secretary for education. Sibanda said some people have even gone blind after taking what is called “eye concoction.”
He said very soon Zinatha would together with the police invade the streets to “weed out these vendors who are not our members and are of no fixed aboard in case some people develop complications from their concoctions.”
He added: “These people are taking advantage of loopholes in the law governing the operations of traditional healers. In conventional medicine one needs approval from the Medicine Control Authority of Zimbabwe.”
Some vendors have even become more innovative as they frequent popular meeting places such as halls and stadiums to trade their “herbs”.  
Zinatha claims to have more than 45 000 registered members country wide including pastors and apostolic prophets.
Herbalists as well as those who sell traditional medicines and faith healers are supposed to be registered in terms of Traditional Medicines Practitioners Act which was established in 1981 and amended in 2000.

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