Gifts to help save the sick

Mama Angel was so touched by the story of traditional healers who use modern methods to treat their patients that she donated dispensaries to them.

Mama Angel was so touched by the story of traditional healers who use modern methods to treat their patients that she donated dispensaries to them.

Sizabantu Traditional Healers Home-Based Care in Bekkersdal, Westonaria, is run by seven healers who were trained by a local clinic.

Sizabantu was lauched in 1992 when the healers realised that their patients sometimes skipped their monthly clinic checkups.

"TB Patients used our herbal medicines and stopped using clinic medication. They said the only clinic in our overcrowded township could not cater for them all," said Silvia Maguma, one of the founders.

"We collected the pills for them and made sure they took them. The clinic trained us in hygiene and how to spot other diseases."

Sizabantu became a registered home-based care institution with seven directors and 40 caregivers, who receive a stipend from the department of health. It cares for 126 bedridden patients in 12 areas of Westonaria. It has walk-in patients and a survivors' group.

The group receives food supplements from the government and has a garden outside the clinic.

"We give our patients a meal a day.," Maguma said. "Some of our survivors recover and find that their relatives do not want them or have moved away.

"We teach them how to make slippers and handicrafts so they can support themselves."

She said traditional medicines can in some instances complement Western medicine.

"We use imbiza to treat shingles (ibande) and warts, herpes and other STIs. Hospitals discharge people while they are still weak. We look after them and clean their bedsores.

"Landladies often demand that we cleanse their yards after a death and refuse to let the room to other sick people. The municipality fortunately buries our patients who have no relatives."

Sizabantu has acquired a site and plans to build a proper hospice.

"We thank Mama Angel for the gifts and hope God will bless this giving hand," Maguna said.

"You have done us a great service and these supplies will make our work easier in the community."

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