Traditional Health Practitioners Bill: public hearings

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Health

09 August 2004
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
10 August 2004
TRADITIONAL HEALTH PRACTITIONERS BILL: PUBLIC HEARINGS

Chairperson:
Mr L Ngculu (ANC)

Documents handed out
Traditional Health Practitioners Bill [B66-2003]
Doctors for Life submission
Energy and Intuitive Healers submission
Traditional Chinese Healers Association submission

These minutes were provided by Mr Saazi Vuke, the Committee Secretary

African National Congress
Mr.L V Ngculu (Chairperson)
Dr I M Cachalia
Ms M M Madumise
Ms B T Ngcobo
Mr. S J Njikelana
Ms P Tshwete

Democratic Alliance
Mr. R Coetzee

Apologies
Ms B T Ngcobo
Dr A N Luthuli
Ms N C Nkabinde
Ms S Rajbally

Officials in attendance from the National Department of Health
Ms N Dlamini- Traditional Health Coordinator
Mr. N Dlamini-Coordinator Programme of Traditional Health Nationally


Other officials in attendance who made oral presentations
Doctors for Life
Dr G M Thindisa
Dr K M J Seobi
2 Traditional Chinese Healers Association
Dr Feng Chao Lin
Dr Jeff Lan
Amanda Lan
Bridget Lyod
3 Intuitive and Energy Healers
Mrs C Marais


Opening and Welcome

The Chairperson welcomed everybody who had attended the Public Hearings on the Traditional Health Practitioner Bill


2. Purpose of the meeting
The purpose of the meeting was to give an opportunity to various institutions and organizations to make presentations and comments on the Traditional Health Practitioner Bill


3. Matters discussed
All the chapters that were forming part of the Traditional Health Practitioner Bill
were discussed in detail by the various institutions and organizations for their input in respect of the Bill.


Doctors for Life
Doctors for Life representative Dr Thindisa firstly indicated that they were committed to promoting holistic health to all people living in South Africa in a scientifically sound and morally accountable way and they also believed that any form of medicine that was not based on empiric truth was potentially and ultimately harmful to patients in need.

Dr Thindisa stated that Traditional Health Practitioners Bill was a mechanism that cannot regulate the spirit world, cannot control the communication between ancestral spirit and the healers and cannot ensure safety for the public against detrimental affects of traditional medicines

Doctors forLife indicated that they recognize the positive intention of the Bill but fail to see how it would ensure quality of health care if traditional health practitioners were still allowed to use medicines that were prescribed by the spirits


Traditional Chinese Healers Association
The Traditional Chinese Healers Association (TCHA) congratulated the Health Committee for drafting the Bill. Traditional Chinese Healers Association commented on the following:-

3.2.1 Definition
On definition of Traditional Health practice as it excluded the professional activities of a person practicing any profession contemplated in the Allied Professions Act, 1982(Act 63 of 1982) as Traditional Chinese Healers were not covered under the Act. Traditional Chinese Healers Association requested the committee to consider including other systems of medicines that follow Traditional philosophy, principles and, methodology

3.2.2 Qualifications for registration
Traditional Chinese Healers Association commented also on Clause 22(1) that stipulate that the minister may, on the recommendation of the Council, prescribe the minimum qualifications to be obtained by virtue of examinations conducted by an accredited institution, educational authority or other examining authority in the Republic. Traditional Chinese Healers Association recommended to the Committee that ‘master’ should be included after educational authority as this would allow for traditional system of an experienced master/trainer handing on his/her skill to the student. Traditional Chinese Healers Association also acknowledged the fact that training needed to be of a high standard.

3.2.3 Register as proof
Traditional Chinese Healers Association stated that in regard to section 26 (2) (iii) proof of applicant’s qualification re quested the committee members to include grandfather clause for initial registration process to be considered for a period of 2 years this would make the registration process more accessible, less threatening and acknowledge the many years experience of some practitioners. The Grandfather clause allows for something pre-existing remain as it is, despite a change to the legislation applied to newer situations

3.4 Energy and Intuitive Healers
Energy and Intuitive Healers indicated that the purpose of making submission was to make sure that the interest, rights of energy and intuitive healers were protected, safeguarded and entrenched by the proposed Bill and to ensure that the proposed new legislation did not discriminate against such healers

Energy and Intuitive Healers who were presented by Ms Marais raised the following concern about the Bill:-

That the new Bill on Traditional Health Practitioners while making no mention of Energy and Intuitive healers, makes it impossible for Energy and Intuitive Healers to practice their calling because
Section 48 which stipulate offences for those who practice without certain conditions being met effectively prohibits healers from working
Their solitary training tradition made it impossible for them to meet SAQA requirements.

4 Closure
The Chairperson thanked all the members for the contribution they had made in Public Hearings on the Traditional Health Practitioners Bill.

The meeting adjourned at 15:15



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