The Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) has urged the media to stop broadcasting adverts from traditional healers in the country. Adverts from traditional healers claiming that they cure different diseases including HIV/AIDS and diabetes have become widespread in the media in recent years.
Reacting to the upsurge in the adverts, MHEN has urged the media in the country to stop broadcasting the commercials from the witchdoctors who are locally known as “asing’anga”
According to MHEN executive director George Jobe, government need to take action to avoid putting lives of people who believe in traditional healers at risk.
“Our media should not accept everything, if these people have powerful medicines, people will be giving testimony over their herbs and not them going on the media to blow trumpets,” said Jobe.
Jobe further said his organisation is ready to support government in taking action against the behaviour of the traditional healers.
The adverts by traditional healers who claim to treat Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are also against the laws of Malawi.
The Public Health Act Cap.34:01 Part VIII on venereal diseases stipulates in paragraph 55 that: (i) “No person shall publish, exhibit or circulate any advertisement or statement intended to promote the sale of any medicine, appliance or article for the alleviation or cure of any venereal disease or disease affecting the generative organs or functions, or of sexual impotence or of any complaint or infirmity arising from or relating to sexual intercourse”.
Paragraph 56 further states: “No person, unless he (or she) is a registered or licenced medical practitioner, or a state registered nurse, or other person certified by the Secretary for Health to be competent to diagnose and treat venereal diseases, shall for reward treat any person of venereal diseases or suspected venereal diseases or prescribe any remedy thereof, or give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof, whether the advice is given to the person to be treated or to any other person”.