No, this is not a public holiday, well at least not yet. This day is part of the World Health Organisation’s annual calendar. The African Traditional Medicine Day is celebrated in many of the continent’s most progressive nations including South Africa.
Origins of the Day
The day came about after the WHO discovered that the majority of the population use traditional medicine. Statistics that they gathered showed that more than 80% of Africans rely on traditional medicine. The reason for such large numbers of people not using conventional medicines vary. A large section of the population uses traditional medicines because there is no access to conventional health care institutions. Both the pricing and the scarcity of the facilities make the traditional healer the best option. Although some people visit traditional healers for other problems other than malaria, flue or sexually transmitted infections. In South Africa, a large number people seek protection from bad luck from the traditional practitioners.
When the UN sanctioned the day they wanted to bridge the gap between institutionalised health care and traditional health care. Since the resolution was ratified by Africa ministers of Health in 2000 a lot has happened to make this possible.
More than 40 countries on the continent now have policies regulating traditional medicine on a national level. This has not only helped to document the large number remedies that are part of this knowledge pool. It has helped to improve the ability of the two health care methods to coordinate.
Already countries like our neighbour Mozambique have made very significant strides in bringing the two closer together. The network of traditional healers in that country receives training on recognizing symptoms of common illnesses. This has allowed health care in that country to improve its ability to provide better health for its population.
The celebrations differ from country to country. However, the common thing is that there are stalls exhibiting and selling traditional medicine. Sometimes there are free consultations with traditional healers just as there is free game at Yebo Casino, SA’s best casino.