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Dr. Renjith K Revi: Homeopathy as alternative medicine

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Can you explain what homeopathy is? Homeopathy is an alternative medical system just like conventional medical system (Allopathy) where you can treat any disease conditions like Allopathy does, from common cold to cancers.

Apart from the conventional medical system, homeopathy and homeopathic medicines do not have any side effects on its consumption and it is safe to take, which makes homeopathy a first option medical system all over the world nowadays. As per WHO, millions of people are using homeopathy around the world and its rate is increasing day by day and it is the second most medical system used after allopathy. How are homeopathic doctors different from conventional medical doctors? Homeopathy does not consider patient in parts, where you need a cardiologist if the heart is affected, for lungs, pumonologist, for kidneys, nephrologist and so on.

Homeopathy is based in “holistic concept” whereby the patient is considered as a whole and it is not to be treated in parts. As per homeopathic concept, all the parts of the body are interrelated and hence, along with treating the disease conditions, the patient should be equally considered and treated. Each and every person is different even though they are having similar disease conditions. Each person has to be evaluated individually and medicines should be selected based on patient’s individuality.

For example, if two people with fever come, one will be feeling chill, another will be feeling hot, another person will be sweating, one will be feeling thirsty, other one will not be feeling thirst at all, you must have experienced all these different symptoms during fever In conventional medicine, all fever is treated with paracetamol whereas homeopathy considers this as different individualistic expressions of disease and each case should be individually treated with different medicines. So, homeopathy carries more than 200 medicines only for fever.

What type of education did you have to pursue to become a homeopath doctor? And why did you decide to become one?

Just like conventional medicine (allopathy) homeopathy is also pursued as a medical degree all over the world and you need to go to a homeopathic medical college to learn homeopathy. Most of the countries, homeopathic medical colleges are attached with homeopathic hospitals and they offer graduation after a period of study of up to four and a half years, followed by one year of internship program in homeopathic dispensaries or homeopathic hospitals for clinical exposure in treating patients.

Can you give us some examples of illnesses that you have effectively treated with homeopathy?

Since homeopathy is a complete medical system, any disease from common cold to cancer can be treated with homeopathy. Homeopathy has got a very good success rate in curative aspect of chronic conditions that are believed to require taking lifelong medicines. Lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol etc. can be treated with homeopathic medicines and they can live without medicines afterwards in very good number of cases. Homeopathic medicines also treat many surgical conditions where surgery is considered as last option, as well as recurrent attacks of cold, flu, sinusitis, migraine.

What is a typical week of work like for you?

The usual days of practice are from Monday to Saturday except Wednesdays. Since the way of case taking is different from conventional medicine and it takes long time compared to conventional medicine to consult with patients. We are not taking more than 10 cases a day so that we could give the best homeopathic care for each patient who comes for our consultation of homeopathy.

Can you describe a basic patient consultation?

Since homeopathy is an individualistic holistic medicine, the homeopath will ask about your mental, physical and emotional symptoms, your functional activities along with the disease condition and it will take 30 minutes to one hour for an average consultation. When you are going to a homeopath, always make sure that you are not in a hurry and take all the past reports and records of your tests, labs, and treatments that will help to assess you precisely and provide you with more precise homeopathic medicines.

Do you collaborate with other practitioners? How important is such collaboration to your work?

Yes, we do. Medical field is an area that requires a collaborative effort. There are cases where Allopathy cannot treat successfully and likewise homeopathy too. So, it’s very important to refer cases between different medical systems and in Botswana, a lot of cases are being referred to homeopathy from conventional doctors as they feel they cannot manage and vice versa.

What are the major challenges that the alternative healthcare field face?

There are not many options for the people to choose alternative medicine, and it is in the initial stage. And a country like Botswana, where our major threat is HIV, there is a lot of scope for homeopathy and other alternative medical systems where conventional medical system is perplexed. Countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana are using homeopathy as an option for HIV cases in their countries.

There are separate ministries under government for alternative medicines in different countries, separate legislation and departments control alternative medicines. Here in Botswana, it’s different and if government can promote alternative medical systems, it can do a lot in a country like Botswana and for Batswana. Maybe in future, when more and more people have benefitted from homeopathy and other alternative medicine systems, it can go to such a stage.

What are some of your professional goals for the future?

Right now, we are located in Riverwalk, Health Alternatives and currently we are not able to manage the patients from such a small premises. Since more and more people are seeking safe and gentle medical methods that can help them without side effects, we are looking forward to moving to a bigger premise. To reach more people, we are planning for free medical camps and services too. From my six years experience in Botswana I feel homeopathy can do well for the incurable and lifestyle diseases.

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Botswana urged to sign Maputo

Keletso Thobega

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Botswana is one of the five countries that have been advised to sign the Maputo Protocol. Botswana, Egypt and Morocco are the only three African countries that have not signed this Protocol. Adopted in 2003 and implemented in 2005, the Maputo Protocol is a ground-breaking protocol on women and girls’ human rights, both within Africa and beyond.

It compensates for the shortcomings in the 1981 African Charter with respect to women and girls rights. It includes 32 articles on women and girls’ rights, and also provides an explicit definition of discrimination against women, which was missing in the African Charter.

The Maputo Protocol defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction or any differential treatment based on sex and whose objectives or effects compromise or destroy the recognition, enjoyment or the exercise by women, regardless of their marital status, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all spheres of life.”

The State of African Women Report 2018 stipulates that more still needs to be done to implement laws and commitments to the rights of women and girls in African societies. While there has been significant improvements in addressing issues affecting women and girls over the years, the report notes that commitment to girls and women’s right is still lagging behind.

The report highlights that:
“Three in five countries in Africa do not criminalise rape, young women aged 15-24 in sub-Saharan Africa are 2.5 times more likely to be infected by HIV in comparison to men in the same age group, more than half of maternal deaths worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa and that gender based violence and sexual assault still affects women more”.

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Mama Rampa, the Good

Yvonne Mooka

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NOBLE CALLING: Martha Rampa on a mission to rescue the underprivileged

Martha Rampa, project manager at AAP Home Based Care and Family Life Programme quit her nursing job over ten years ago to attend to the needs of orphans, poor and sick.

AAP has 3119 orphans and underprivileged children from South East, Kweneng, Kanye and Kgalagadi districts. The Non-Governmental Organisation aims at supporting, providing food, clothing, shelter, education, nursing care, counselling and supporting destitute, terminally ill patients and orphaned children.

According to Rampa, the thrust of the practice is the link between the patient and the clinical management services. “It is a person-centred approach, which ensures that patients receive the appropriate service in a supportive and effective manner. Destitute and orphaned children have over time become integral part AAP programmes,” she said.

Last Saturday, she organised an appreciation dinner for donors. It was a colourful event where beneficiaries had also come to testify about the way their lives have changed since they were enrolled.

One of the young girls said that she had given up on life as she was from a poor family. The under 15 girl said that through AAP, she managed to continue and is exceling at school. A young man under 20 said that he was moved from a settlement where he could not focus on his studies because of his family background.

AAP put him through a different school that has boarding. “At AAP, we call her mama Rampa. She is our mother and we are so blessed to have her,” he said at the event in Gaborone.

The primary aim of AAP is to rehabilitate and develop children in difficult circumstances such as orphaned children, street children, economically poor and socially oppressed children and work for the eradication of child labour and child exploitation.

Rampa said the vision is to help and give many more children a real and loving home which helps them to live and grow up to be free, healthy and independent individuals; to influence behavioural change of individuals, especially those in the realm of sex and family life and to introduce a change that will bring a transformation, which alleviates the impact of HIV/Aids infection and stops the spread of the virus within the community.

She said there were local companies that had committed themselves to giving the children food after every two weeks. Through her gift of counselling, she also assists with providing emotional and spiritual support including counselling to orphans, destitute, terminally ill and the poor. She also prays for them.

She said that since the project started in 2000, the focus was on the care of HIV/AIDS patients. Volunteers were trained to take care of terminally ill patients in their homes. “Due to lack of funds in supporting the volunteers, for three years only 45 were full time serving in the project with great results.

“A networking relationship was established with Ministry of Health/AIDS department and Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs as well as other NGOs like BOCAIP, Clinics around Gaborone and Church leaders. We effectively communicated our mission to our leaders like Counsellors, Members of Parliament and diKgosi in the areas where we are operating,” she said.

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