Background: In South Africa, new amended regulations required a review of complementary and alternative medicine (CAMs) call-up for registration from November 2013. This impacted traditional healers (THs)’ compliance with the regulatory authorities’ on the good manufacturing practice which in return affected the public’s access to CAMs. This investigation embraces methods, THs use to diagnose and treat diabetes (DM) in Mamelodi. Furthermore, it assesses what their purported medications comprise of. It is fundamental to understand the functioning of the South African Health Products Regulatory Agency (SAHPRA). Regulations surrounding registration and post-marketing control of CAMs are crucial, needing a solution.
Method: The study comprised of dedicated questionnaires, distributed amongst THs to gain knowledge on their diagnosis and identify the CAMs used. It also included non-structured surveys on pharmacies to identify and assess compliance of those CAMs with the SAHPRA (previously Medicines Control Council (MCC)) regulations.
Result: TH’s do not use any medical tests or materials for diagnosis. They use skeletal bones and prayers. Most CAMs found in the pharmacies have a disclaimer on the label when not evaluated by MCC/SAHPRA. Only two medicines were registered: ‘Manna blood sugar support and super moringa’. Self-provided TH treatment list for DM displays 20 different active ingredients in various CAM therapies. The most common treatment used is a plant and herbal-based (Muti) such as 1-ounce (Oz) mixture.
Conclusion: Diagnosis of diabetes by THs is mostly done by divination. TH’s have an understanding with regards to drug safety, are aware of regulations but do not comply with SAHPRA. Their purported medication seems to be successful, according to themselves but further investigation and proper collaboration between the THs and bodies is in demand. Future study is needed by a competent researcher with traditional medicine qualifications.
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