Lack of regulatory body hinders traditional medicine
as WHO insists on scientific verification of cures
Otsile Molefe, a practising traditional doctor, notes that real medicine comes from the earth, not the laboratory, and that Africans have been able to cure African bodies of diseases since antiquity. In Molefe’s view, traditional doctors are overlooked while continue merely stabilise diseases. But he says traditional doctors are partly to blame because they do not have a regulatory body through which to resolve the impasse for the benefit of society. He points out that Big Pharma is not perturbed because it puts patenting and profiting ahead of patients and therefore thrives by keeping traditional medicine on the periphery of formal healthcare systems.
The efficacy of traditional medicine, he emphasises, is based on living testimonies rather than on laboratory animals. “Traditional medicine is like food eaten for the sustenance of the body,” he says.
He lauds the President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, for his approval of use of traditional medicine to tackle the coronavirus and says this shows the level at which African countries should be dealing with the rampant pandemic. In one of his publicised articles, Molefe explains that there are a number of traditional medicines that can be used in the fight against Covid-19 and names Lengana (Artemisa Afra) and Tshuko Ya Poo (Hypoxis Hemerocallidea) among them.
At the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Botswana, Health Promotion Officer (HPO), Moagi Gaborone, says the caveat scientific testing is critical. Moagi says while the WHO office in Botswana has always supported traditional medicine, the absence of regulatory body is a problem. He explains that the regulatory body would help to ensure that when samples are taken for testing, they are protected and registered as intellectual property. This facilitate subsequent processes after medicines are approved.
Gaborone says without these processes, use of traditional medicine is a risk for traditional doctors because if it causes harm or death when a given medicine is not been approved, criminal charges would follow. He points out that scientific verification is mandatory because it reduces such risks to the creator.