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Hands off herbs, TB patients told

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By Faith Kamtambe:

The National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTP) has warned that the proliferation of herbal medicines that are sold as cure for tuberculosis (TB) is derailing treatment efforts.

NTP Programmes Manager, James Mpunga, said Tuesday such medicines do not, “in any way”, cure TB.

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“The medicines that they [patients] are buying, thinking that they [medicine] can cure TB, are actually not working,” he said.

He added that herbal products have more effects on patients than conventional medicine.

“When you start taking those drugs, you might be losing time and, by the time you realise that you have been fooled and you come to the hospital, you might have reached a clinically difficult position to be cured and you might be spreading that TB to people in the neighbourhood,” Mpunga said.

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Herbalist Association of Malawi Secretary, Lawrence Mandaaliza, said the association has not found any tree in the country that cures TB but said there are many species that lessen pain brought about by such diseases.

“If I say there is a herb that cures TB 100 percent then I will be cheating [you] but there are so many juices made from tress that only subsidise the pain. As things stand, we are working on sensitising herbalists in the country to desist from making such claims,” he said.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, Joshua Malango, said the ministry is doing its best to check the situation in the country.

According to NTP, 16,000 Malawians were recently diagnosed with TB.

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