HARARE – Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) is mulling plans to build a referral centre in Harare.
Zinatha, which had gone into hibernation in recent years due to financial challenges, wants to set up a referral centre in Harare’s Mukuvisi Woodlands area where spirit mediums, herbalists and healers will be stationed, offering various services in traditional healing.
George Kandiero, the Zinatha director general who is leading an interim committee following the death of Gordon Chavhunduka last year, told the Daily News that they were allocated land by the Harare City Council sometime back but the project has been hampered by lack of finances.
Kandiero said they were looking for partners to implement the project so that Zinatha reclaims its position in the alternative spiritual healing.
Zinatha also intends to have a conference centre at the site where they will conduct workshops and training courses for their members on best international practices, since most of them have customers across the borders and in the diaspora.
“We want to build a referral centre more like Parirenyatwa Hospital where we have faith healers, bone casters, herbalists, spirit mediums among others, providing their services at the centre,” Kandiero told the Daily News.
“We have a lot of members countrywide and they would take turns to use the facility, offering services to the people. We have everything in place for the project. It’s only that we are facing some financial challenges and if we get some partners, we will be hitting the ground running very soon.”
The Zinatha director general said they want to use the land availed to them to cultivate various herbs and then decentralise the herbal gardens to every province.
The association currently operates only three offices countrywide, one in Harare, Masvingo and Bulawayo but it wants to increase the offices to at least three per province.
At its peak, it used to have more than 45 000 registered traditional healers in the 1990s.
According to a parliamentary health committee report of 2010, more than 80 percent of Zimbabweans use traditional medicine for healing purposes.
According to the report, traditional and herbal medicine remains more affordable to the ordinary people than conventional medicine as most people cannot afford consultation fees at hospitals.
In some African countries there has been collaboration between traditional healers and medical doctors with much success.
In Tanzania, the Dar es Salaam-based Institute of Traditional Medicine in 2006 had a successful project to test the efficacy of traditional medicine in helping the severity of other illnesses often seen in HIV patients.