More Zimbabweans are turning to traditional Chinese medicine as an alternative treatment

The Chronicle

XINHUA – After receiving his second and final acupuncture treatment, Sebastian Jackson (53) smiled as he showed everyone how powerful his take had become. Just over a week ago, he could barely shake someone’s hand without wincing in pain.

“It works! The first time I came here I was in pain and couldn’t shake anyone’s hand, but now as you can feel my grip is very powerful,” he said triumphantly. .

Jackson told Xinhua that he had had his wrists treated at conventional medical centers but had not found any luck.

Then he heard about the Zimbabwe-China Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Center of Parirenyatwa Hospital Group, where the treatment of illnesses could be done using acupuncture. He decided to give it a try.

The treatment worked for Jackson, one of the thousands of Zimbabweans who have turned to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for their illnesses.

The center was designated by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in January 2020, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Zimbabwean and Chinese governments on cooperation in the field of TCM and acupuncture.

The facility, which will also house the country’s largest TCM training school and research center, began welcoming patients in November 2020.

As of April of this year, he had treated more than 150 people with various ailments such as hypertension, lower back pain, diabetes, hernia and other health issues.

The centre’s executive director Sun Shuang said 48% of patients were now locals, compared to when it was opened when most Chinese nationals sought treatment there.

“We accept patients with urgent and urgent problems when there is no other option for them. We do not advertise. We have a lot of patients just because of the good results on our other patients, ”she said.

The doctor said the center is training more local doctors in traditional medicine, hoping that over time more similar facilities will be opened across the country.

Karen Gurure, a Zimbabwean doctor trained in China and interned at the clinic, told Xinhua that the main benefit of TCM is that it has fewer side effects.

Gurure, who had studied at the Chinese University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Jiangxi, said that adopting TCM, which uses complex imbalance patterns in the body to determine a diagnosis, said Western medicine tends to focus on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. depending on a patient’s symptoms.

“TCM focuses on the whole body, while conventional medicine focuses on a certain part of the body. If you have back pain, conventional medicine would treat you only for back pain, with TCM it treats the whole body, ”she said.

Gurure said China was offering valuable lessons to Zimbabwe in terms of modernizing and codifying traditional medicine.

Zimbabwe has a long history of using traditional herbal remedies, which remain the most affordable and readily available source of treatment for many people.

Recognized as officially part of the country’s health system, traditional remedies still remain a largely untapped health resource due to a lack of comprehensive research, Gurure said.

Sun said the center was ready to help Zimbabwean health professionals learn about their traditional medicine so they can provide better services to their patients.

For her, the experience of each patient is memorable. “Every patient who comes here would love to be back,” she said.

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