By Anna Chibamu
HEALTH and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo says government will not stop any cancer patient from turning to traditional medicine on top of the clinical treatment they were receiving from public health institutions.
Moyo was speaking at the Senate Thursday while responding to a question by Chiefs Council President Fortune Charumbira.
“We hear that there is traditional medicine that assists in treating cancer,” Moyo said.
“We also hear that there are herbs that assist. What happens with cancer is that you cannot stop anyone from using the medicine that he or she wants.
“You will find people ending up going to hospitals and at the same time they are also using traditional medicines. They also go to herbalists; therefore, they go to all areas. Whatever comes is taken.”
The Minister also hinted Zimbabwe may follow the route of China and India that have formally adopted traditional medicine in their systems.
“As a ministry, yes, we do have a department that deals with traditional medicines.
“That is the other issue that I am thinking that as a new Minister, I would want us to research on.
“We will get best practices from other countries like China and India because they use traditional medicine.
“In Australia, they also use traditional medicines and in other countries, they use cannabis to treat cancer.”
“However, on the issue of cannabis, we do not want to rush into it because for us to be able to grow it, we need to have security measures in place.
“If we just tell people to use cannabis, we will end up having people who are high because of the improper use…”
However, Minister Moyo’s apparent endorsement of traditional medicine as an avenue through which people can be treated for cancer coms after millions of locals of various economic status often turn to traditional healers and prophets for spiritual and cheaper remedies to their various ailment.
The government this year conducted workshops with traditional healers in Chipinge to try and conscientise them on how to detect Tuberculosis among their clients.