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Residents interact with traditional health practitioners

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Collins also reminded the public that a graduation certificate should be displayed in every consulting room, also known as Ndomba

VARIOUS community members throughout the Northern Cape were able to interact with traditional health practitioners (THP) during a dialogue held as part of a two-day annual conference.

The event, held over the past weekend in Galeshewe, saw representatives from different organisations and THP members focus on their different roles.

Focus was also put on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Act, with traditional practitioners urged to work hand in hand with the government to do referrals to government institutions.

Northern Cape THP secretary Benny Collins highlighted the practitioner’s role in encouraging patients to seek treatment at clinics as soon as they felt sick.

According to Collins, who was also the host of the event, their members are urged to escort their patients to a clinic before they prescribe herbal medicines for them.

That, according to him, is to promote cross-referrals and was one of the areas agreed on during dialogues with the Department of Health.

The topic of increasing fly-by-night practitioners was also addressed, where attendants were informed of the warning signs to look out for during consultations.

Collins also reminded the public that a graduation certificate should be displayed in every consulting room, also known as Ndomba.

“That certificate is usually allocated by the trainer on the graduation of the traditional healer and should be visibly hanging on the wall for clients to see.

“The consultation room, as well as the healer himself, should also be clean, as we practise cleanliness.”

According to Collins, a new Interim Council, similar to the medical council for doctors, has also been established, where clients can direct any complaints.

“These fly-by-nights are killing people and the clients cannot refer back to them to do damage control or follow-up visits. We are easy to reach as most of us operate within the community,” he added.

Collins called on clients to stop approaching fly-by-night practitioners first and then expecting certified practitioners to do damage control when things go wrong.

“All we can do in such cases is to advise the complainants to open a case with the police as the damage has already been done.

“We also have cases where some fly-by-nights, who pretend to be our members, sexually assault people,” he added.