Zimbabwe’s traditional healers joined colleagues around the continent Thursday to mark the fourth African Traditional Medicine Day, though one leading association in the sector declined to participate saying it had been left out of planning.
Deputy Health minister Edwin Muguti officiated in Harare with Chiefs Council President Fortune Charumbira and World Health Organization officials attending.
Traditional health care is getting more attention as an alternative to Western medical treatments that are often not available to rural populations - or affordable.
But this increased interest and wider recognition of the benefits of traditional healing has created some institutional competition and tension in Zimbabwe.The Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association officially boycotted Thursday's ceremony, complaining that it had been excluded from planning of the event. However, a spokesman for the association said it had encouraged members to go.
Zinatha is at odds with the Traditional Medical Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe over plans by the council to launch a diploma course next month. It will teach practicing and aspiring healers to identify, prepare and package traditional medicines. But Zinatha says the course is not needed because the association has a school of its own.
Association President Gordon Chavhunduka told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his group was not consulted on the council course and he voiced the concern that the practitioners council is hijacking its mission.
Council registrar Mutsa Chikede responded that the country needs as many schools as can be established as as one institution cannot meet growing demand.