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 grip had become. A little over a week ago, he could barely shake hands with anyone without wincing in pain.

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

Jackson told Xinhua that he had his wrists treated at conventional medical centers but was unlucky.

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

The treatment has been successful for Jackson, who is one of thousands of Zimbabweans who have turned to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) facility for treatment for their ailments.

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 accepting patients in November 2020.

By April this year, he had treated more than 150 people suffering from various conditions such as hypertension, lower back pain, diabetes, hernia and other health problems.

The centre’s executive director, Sun Shuang, said 48% of patients are 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 was training more local doctors in traditional medicine, hoping that over time other similar facilities would be opened across the country.

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

Gurure, who studied at Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said adopting TCM could bring more benefits, which uses complex patterns of imbalance in the body to determine a diagnosis, while Western medicine tends to focus on the diagnosis and treatment of disease. based 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 only treat you for back pain, with TCM it treats the whole body,” she said.

Gurure said China offered 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 easily accessible source of treatment for many people.

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

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

For her, every patient’s experience is memorable. “Every patient who comes here wishes they were back,” she said.