BUFFALO, N.Y. – Gene D. Morse, professor and associate
director of the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center
of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, presided with
Charles C. Maponga at the first graduation of Zimbabwe Traditional
Healers, in recognition of their completion of a one-year
Maponga, a faculty member at UB and the University of Zimbabwe
(UZ), and director of the UZ School of Pharmacy in the College of
Health Sciences, conveyed greetings and official ceremonial opening
speeches from the minister of health and the dean of the UZ College
of Health Sciences.
The Traditional Healer Certificate program is offered by UZ
School of Pharmacy in collaboration with the International
Education and Research Initiative (IPERI) and recognizes the
importance of indigenous knowledge systems in Zimbabwe.
IPERI was established by the UB-UZ AIDS International Training
and Research Program (AITRP) to foster the interactions between
community groups such as patient support groups and traditional
healers and the HIV clinical research and capacity-building program
of the AITRP.
The AITRP is funded by the Fogarty International Center at the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has a primary goal of
increasing HIV clinical pharmacology research capacity at UZ
through mentored training of UZ graduate students and faculty in
HIV clinical pharmacology research methodology, laboratory sciences
and applied therapeutics.
AITRP investigators participating in the educational modules of
the Traditional Healer Certificate program include Maponga AITRP
Co-PI and IPERI director; Tinashe Mudzviti, an AITRP mentor and
IPERI co-director; Dexter Chagwena, an AITRP fellow and nutrition
graduate student at UZ; and Martin Zende, an AITRP fellow and UZ
graduate student in agriculture.
“This certificate program represents an important step in
establishing a community network of practitioners and patients who
will contribute to the clinical pharmacology and therapeutics
implementation research that the AITRP mentors and fellows are
trying to achieve as part of the Zimbabwean Evidence to Action
(ETA) national project,” said Morse.
The graduates recognized Maponga for efforts to develop and
implement the certificate program with IPERI and UZ and their
appreciation of the recognition of indigenous knowledge systems
within Zimbabwe. The class presented a plaque with an inscription
of appreciation and the tribal chiefs presented Maponga with statue
of a traditional healer made from beads by a local artisan.
During the ceremony individual awards were announced in the
following categories: Best overall students (Brian Chatindo and
Richard Mafuta both herbalists), outstanding projects (Friday
Chisanyu and Tinashe Kureya), most inspring traditional health
practitiner (Mapati William) and most professional participating
student (Jessy Kadyevhu). The ceremony included the presentation of
a certificate of formal recognition for completion of a program
that is consistent with the Traditional Medical
Practitioner’s Act 27:14 (Section 3(2b) of the Zimbabwe
The program included African music selections from Mbira dza