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40 Chipinge N'angas, Faith Healers Undergo Anti-TB Training

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By Nkosana Dlamini

ATLEAST 40 traditional healers and faith healers in Chipinge district have undergone training on ways to detect tuberculosis symptoms as government ups its efforts to combat the further spread of the infectious disease throughout the country.

This was revealed early during the week by Chipinge District TB Coordinator Michael Muponda while addressing a group of health journalists who were touring different TB treatment centres in Manicaland.

“The training was supported by NAC and this is just a drop in the ocean because we trained only 40 but the coverage is still very low and yet the intention is good,” Muponda said.

“Sensitisation of faith healers and traditional healers is a major issue because they are also service providers in the community and first consultation during illness sometimes is to a faith healer. So we want them to appreciate issues of TB.”

Muponda continued, “Our plans are that we mobilise funds and we continue training and sensitising faith and traditional healers throughout the district.

“Currently, we don’t know how many faith healers and traditional healers there are but obviously they are more than the number of nurses we have in the district. So they are taking care of a greater population. So they need to appreciate issues of TB; early case detection, referral to hospital and also monitoring people on treatment.”

While the decision to rope in non-clinical healers is aimed for the entire country, Chipinge in particularly is well known for being a strong base for traditional healers who often receive clients of various social and economic status from far and wide.

The sensitisation programme is also tailored for hard-pressed locals who have been flocking to Pentecostal churches and traditional healers in the past few years to seek supernatural solutions to their social and financial problems.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s social and commercial relations with Mozambique and South Africa have been linked to the spread of TB in parts of Chipinge.

Briefing journalists at St Peters Catholic Mission Hospital on Tuesday, Dr Mbiri, a practitioner with the health facility, said among the biggest drivers of TB infections in Chipinge South were cross-border trade activities among citizens.

The hospital also usually receive patients from Tongogara Refugee Camp and Mozambicans living close to the Zimbabwean border who find it easier to cross into Zimbabwe for treatment.

 

The entire district has four major hospitals while St Peters is a referral centre for 15 health facilities in Chipinge South.

The media tour was conducted under the auspices of the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s National TB Program (NTP) in collaboration with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) with support from USAID.

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