Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo appointed an 8-member board for the Natural Therapists Council of Zimbabwe yesterday which is chaired by Professor Charles Maponga and Deputised by Dr Nyarai Paweni.
The board was appointed in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on clinical study of natural medicines.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is the umbrella organization of the world which guides member countries on health policies and operations. In 2004, WHO published guidelines for clinical study of natural medicines in the WHO African region as a model for member states to use in their local contexts (WHO, 2004),” said Dr Moyo.
Dr Moyo noted that usage of herbal medicines maybe harmful in the absence of proper clinical trials.
“Without the knowledge obtained from clinical trials, people using herbal medicine may be at risk for serious effects from taking the wrong dose, using the treatment in the wrong way or using it with other treatment with which it may interact.
“From the guidelines it is apparent that Ministry of Health and Child Care pleads for clinical studies on herbal products to establish a place for traditional herbal remedies in the health care system and believes that this can only happen if recommendations for the use of herbal products are based on studies that are credible and acceptable,” said the Health Minister.
Traditional medicines has been in usage for a long time in Zimbabwe for primary health care.
“The use of natural or traditional medicine is recognised in Zimbabwe and is used by the majority for primary health care needs and MOHCC has therefore developed guidelines based on the WHO model to guide research on traditional and complementary medicines,” concluded Dr Moyo.
In his acceptance speech, Prof Maponga underscored the need to focus on training, research and practising. Prof Maponga is a qualified pharmacist and currently working with the School of Pharmacy at the University of Zimbabwe. He offers consultancy to many local and international organisations and also belongs to a number of professional bodies.
Acting Health Secretary, Dr Gibson Mhlanga welcomed the board members and urged them to diligently execute their duties for the benefit of the country.
Other members of the board are Professor Sheunesu Mupepereki, Professor M Gundidza, Dr George Danda, Mr Mukbul Ahmed Mukadam, Dr Wilson Gwatidzo and Mrs Kate Ross. The board was appointed in terms of Section 39 (1) of the Health Professions Act (Chapter 27:19) and Section 11 of the Public Entities and Corporate Governance Act (Chapter 10:31).