- Says their practice is viewed as witchcraft
- Challenges them to enrich themselves through their practice
In an unprecedented move by a medical practitioner, a psychiatric nurse at Letsholathebe Memorial Hospital has publicly taken a swipe at traditional doctors, questioning their practice.
This transpired on Wednesday during the African Traditional doctors’ commemoration at Maun main Kgotla during a panel discussion between the health practitioners and traditional doctors which aimed at developing an understanding between the two and strengthening their working ties as they both deal with the health aspect of life.
The commemoration which aimed at honouring the integral role of traditional medicine in the health and welfare of communities took a wrong turn when the health worker said traditional doctors are in some spheres viewed as witches.
The nurse questioned traditional doctors as to why their lives are stagnant and subjected to poverty though they call themselves doctors.
“If you are regarded as a doctor you are suppose to be living life to the level of medical doctors and be rich, how can a traditional doctor say they can make me rich while they cannot create that richness for themselves and are even walking with torn shoes?” she asked rhetorically.
The nurse further posed a question to the traditional doctors seeking to know if for one to become a traditional doctor they have to first go through a psychiatric hospital.
“As a psychiatric nurse I have encountered instances whereby a patient brought in by a traditional doctor tries to become the doctor and attempting to perform rituals on health workers, so this leaves me asking myself whether being a traditional doctor is associated with having a mental disorder,” she pressed on.
Furthermore, the nurse alleged that some traditional doctors make their clients to kiss snakes, noting that there is no how one will openly visit them without getting a fright.
She further urged traditional doctors to work towards making profits, adding that, if possible, they can even export their knowledge to other countries.
Principal Health Officer II Kebotlwaetse Kwambala was then forced to apologise to the traditional doctors for the nurse’s utterances. He advised panelists to be focused and avoid taking matters personally but be professional and be cognizant of the fact they represented their respective professions.
He further advised both traditional doctors and medical health practitioners to work together and have a better understanding of their fields.
“Countries such as Zimbabwe have traditional doctor ward sections in their hospitals because they have a common understanding, and hat is what we want as Batswana, ”Kwambala highlighted.
In an interview on the sideline of the meeting, an infuriated traditional doctor from Samedupi, Epadile Daniel, expressed disappointment from the health worker’s remarks. She said it was clear that that medical practitioners are still far from accepting traditional medicine and its importance in the field.
Daniel further noted that in most cases they refer patients to seek professional medical attention at hospitals adding that if there was an understanding they would also love to see patients who medical doctors are unable assist referring them to traditional doctors.
“Medical doctors go to school for years to train for their specialty but that also applies to us, we go to school for a minimum of three years and maximum of seven years to train for being traditional doctors and later issued with certificates,” she noted.
Daniel indicated that after getting the certificate once in a while one will be given practical work to see if they still remember and understand what they were taught.