Johannesburg: Traditional healers in South Africa now refer critically ill patients to modern doctors as there were certain illnesses they could not cure due to superior technology found in hospitals, state-run news agency BuaNews said.
Frank Chauke, chairman of the Mopani Traditional Healers in northern Limpopo province, said traditional healers should not be motivated by money.
"Our aim is not only to get money, but to heal people as well. If you can`t treat certain diseases, just pass the patient over to those who can," he said.
Chauke said traditional healers should learn to admit that there were certain illnesses they could not cure.
Many lives could be saved if patients were referred in time to doctors, he said.
"For instance, we traditional healers can`t use drips on patients. Therefore, every patient who needs a drip should be referred to a clinic or hospital as soon as possible. Don`t wait until the patient reaches a stage where they can`t be saved," he said.
A conference of traditional healers is held every year in South Africa, aimed at encouraging them to share ideas and expertise, including challenges encountered during the course of the year.
Asked to comment on those who used traditional medicine (or "muti") to harm others, Chauke said: "Those are not true healers, but just individuals driven by greed to make money."
"If they were true healers, the ancestors would be angry with them and would probably take away their power to heal," he warned.
He said it took years to qualify as a healer and warned the public to be aware of those who claim to be qualified after just a few weeks of training.