Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly Persons and Children, Ummy Mwalimu told reporters yesterday in Dar es Salaam that herbalists have been misleading their customers by airing radio and television programmes against the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act no 23, Section 10.
“The government prohibits them to air any advertisements that are not registered by the Alternative Health Practices Council of Tanzania,” she clarified.
“The aim was to ensure all message conveyed by herbalists through their programmes and adverts do not mislead the society as well as to make sure they provide health care by following regulation issued by the council according to the law,” she said.
The minister said the Act was established to give provisions for promotion, control and regulation of traditional and alternative medicines practice, to establish the Traditional and Alternative Health Practice Council and to provide for related matters.
“The law wants all traditional healers to submit their registrations together with their advertisements to the council for review and they should also register their activities to get permission to hold public marketing events,” she added.
The Deputy Registrar of Alternative Health Practices Council of Tanzania, Mboni Zuwena Bakari said many traditional healers violate rules and regulations and are using advertisements to deceive the public.
“So we ordered them to submit their details to the council however only two out of more than 7,000 herbalists who are registered have so far submitted the requested documents and adverts,” she said.
She said herbalists who have submitted their registrations include Dr Juma Mwaka of Foreplan Clinic and Simon Lusigwa of Sure Herbal Clinic and they have been allowed to continue with public education.
Chairman of the Council, Dr Edward Kayombo said the government's decision to order traditional healers to submit their registrations is to ensure they follow procedures laid down by the ministry.
He said the government has banned all live shows due to the fact many herbalists promote their clinics instead of providing public education on various diseases.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Association of Traditional Healers (SHIVYATIATA), Abdulahim Lutenga said that none of their members plan to disobey government order and they have not issued any statement that they might boycott the order.
He said those who issued their statement on Sunday that they plan to disobey the order did not get permission from the association.
“Any herbalists who have already paid airtime to broadcast his advert and programmes should contact us so that we can see how we can work on the matter ,” Lutenga said.
On Sunday some herbalists who spoke to the press said the decision made by the Council to ban public advertisements did not involve all stakeholders and that they will incur losses because some of them have already signed contacts with media outlets.