HARARE – The stance taken by government to accept State-backed traditional complementary cancer medicine — after investigating its efficacy — makes a lot of sense, especially when viewed in the context of the proliferation of different forms of the fatal ailments in recent years.
We are all aware of the value that traditional knowledge systems have had in drawing up interventions for different challenges society may be facing.
Besides, some of these diseases may not be entirely new. Cancer, for instance, has always been there as a difficult disease to deal with but there existed methods within the traditional framework to deal with it and other afflictions.
With revelations that research has shown that 98 percent of men and women who undergo chemotherapy and radiation for a variety of cancer types risk dying from those cancers within five years against 20 percent for herbal treatment, we believe it is worth trying.
In the Friday edition of the Daily News, we carry a story in which herbalists have claimed an 80 percent success rate in curing cancer against 2 percent for the medical side.
However, we are cognisant of the fact that these claims must be interrogated further. Herbal cancer treatment must be put through scientific investigation to establish whether the “treated” cases would indeed test negative. Once that is done, there would be no need for government to delay the roll-out of such therapeutic endeavours for the benefit of many who may be facing similar ailments but failing to get them treated.
Putting the traditional medicines through appropriate scientific tests could help in improving their potency by integrating modern medical methods. This could also help reduce potential side effects herbal treatment may present.
Over the years, traditional knowledge systems have been used to deal with modern-day challenges in the world, for instance in the area of conservation. Eating certain animals’ meat has been taboo from time immemorial. Although this would vary between cultures, it was an important tool for conservation and balance in the ecosystem.
Surely, there would be no reason why modern medicine should exploit herbal interventions on which adequate research has been conducted. This could help doctors deal with so many diseases, which have been mutating over the years, that are presenting headaches to the medical fraternity.
Embracing traditional complementary cancer treatment may also have a positive impact on the cost, which currently is on the steep side. Government’s move must be lauded although it is critical to ensure adequate research and tests are performed on the effectiveness of the therapy. Who knows, the therapy might mitigate the obtaining high fatalities related to the different types of cancer in Zimbabwe and beyond.