Twenty-nine traditional health practitioners – or aBogogo as they are commonly referred to – were trained at the Vaal University of Technology by the Institute of Traditional Medicine and Traditional Knowledge, hosting Dihlare Remedy; where research is undertaken to authenticate traditional medicines and ultimately produce them for consumption.
The traditional health practitioners were trained in Simple Biomedical Procedures so that they can conduct urine tests, take blood pressure, perform first aid and other basic, but necessary, tests for their patients.
"The traditional practitioners work with people from the community and this knowledge is essential for them before recommending medicine/umuti to patients," said Dr Tozama Qwebani- Ogunleye: Project Manager.
For ten of the participants, training was a bit challenging. Besides being illiterate, some of them are partially deaf or short-sighted and others suffer from arthritis which made holding pens difficult. This group had difficulties understanding how to read the modern equipment such as the BP, pulse and respiration monitors.
"We struggled with the training, but as a team that was dedicated to improving the skills of the traditional health practitioners we had to offer our best. We are thankful that at the end of training all the practitioners were awarded with certificates of competency," said clinician Bernice Matsoso.
With these new skills the practitioners are better equipped to perform primary health care procedures that can assist people in the community and to prevent complications early to refer to medical practitioners.
This is the first cycle training of 2017. Dihlare is hoping to train a total of 300 traditional practitioners in the next two years.
The Institute of Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Medicine-Dihlare (ITKTM/Dihlare) welcomed delegates from the Swaziland Institute of Research in Traditional Medicine and Indigenous Food Plants (SIRMIP) on 23 March.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss how the University of Swaziland and the SIRMIP can support and/or collaborate with the VUT regarding our traditional medicine project.
UNISWA delegates were treated to a meet and greet on a boat cruise at BON Hotel the evening of their arrival where they were officially welcomed by Dr Thozama Qwebani Ogunleye: Project Manager ITKTM/Dihlare. Professor Irene Moutlana: Vice-Chancellor and Principal shared words of encouragement that this partnership could reap benefits that will contribute to South Africa as a whole.
The official proceedings got underway the next day and were presided over by The Master of Ceremonies, Prof Bobby Naidoo: HOD Chemistry Department.
Prof Raymond Mabuza: Executive Dean Faculty of Applied and Computer Sciences shared some insights about his faculty while Dr Joe Molete: Executive Director of VUT’s Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park took them on a tour through the park and explained the purpose of the precinct and what has thus far been achieved.
From UNISWA, the representative from the Vice Chancellor’s office gave a presentation on behalf of the Pro Vice Chancellor, Prof M Dlamini and Prof Priscilla Dlamini: Director SIRMIP shared with VUT how they run their traditional medicine platform.
Towards the end of the programme, Dr Qwebani-Ogunleye: Project Manager gave a presentation about the ITKTM. Dr Thozama’s focus was on the portfolios of products and development, research and development and education and training. She also focused on the role of science in improving the quality of life for South Africans.
In concluding the programme, Prof Martha Pinkoane: Associate Professor: Health Sciences/Clinical Manager at VUT gave acknowledgements and led the Advanced Manufacturing precinct tour.
Discussions of formalising the collaboration are in order.