|Dr. Richard Fru /The Recorder Cmr|
Dr Richard Fru, winner of multiple awards for his research in traditional medicine and director of Dr.Fru’s Garden of Eden International Healing and Research Foundation, headquartered in Wonya Mavio, Muea road, Buea, has strongly reacted to a recent communiqué by the Minister of Communication warning media organs not to publicize the services and medicinal products of Traditional Health Practitioner-commonly called traditional doctors.
Dr Fru, who is known nationally and internationally for his research in traditional medicine, in the following interview with Recorder Editor Christopher Ambe, says the anti- traditional medicine war by the Government is ill-advised. He insists that it is also against the World Health Organization (WHO), which calls on governments to promote traditional medicine
You are a multiple –award winning traditional doctor and a famous campaigner for the use of traditional medicine. The Government seems to have launched a crackdown on traditional doctors publicizing their services and drugs. What is your reaction to this?
Thank for coming to interview me. I think it is timely. I don’t think the Government of Cameroon has launched a war against traditional health practitioners publicizing their services.
I think, it is some conventional doctors in positions of authority who –for selfish reasons, have influenced the Minister of Communication to issue the communiqué threatening media organs that publicize our activities and medicinal drugs.
In Cameroon, there has been a battle between conventional doctors and traditional health Practitioners, for long.
Many detractors of traditional medicine who have been using the Ministry of Communication to fight us have come and gone .Some of such people have suddenly become traditional doctors but while they were still in the civil service they fought against us.
Some overzealous conventional doctors have seen how traditional medicine is booming, how more and more people are embracing it and are scared. Since they are pro- conventional sector-they have companies, organizations and networks abroad to which they are strongly connected .It seems the connections abroad have paid them to do everything to fight against traditional medicine, which they see as a big threat to conventional medicine.
I think the Minister of Communication, by issuing the communique threatening media organs publicizing the products and services of traditional health practitioners, is doing so under the pressure of some conventional doctors holding influential positions in the administration. They are just trying to prevent us from providing health care to the community; and you know the easiest way to win your competitor is to stop him from talking; you know the media is the mouthpiece of society.
Warning the media not to promote our health education campaigns is working against the World Health Organization(WHO).We consider this a human rights violation; this is against the freedom of traditional health practitioners who pay taxes; who have the right to use available means of mass communication to make public their works and discoveries. The Minister’s threat is against the will of the WHO, against the Will of United Ntaions, against the will of African heads of states and the African Union
I even followed an interview of the current Regional Director of World Health Organization who was in Cameroon a few weeks ago and he said WHO was working hard with the Cameroon Government to see how traditional Medicine should be promoted. The WHO has issued many communiqués calling on African heads of states, heads of government and health ministers to make sure that traditional medicine is being promoted. That is why African Traditional Medicine Day was instituted in 2003 and it is being celebrated every year to create awareness of the importance of traditional medicine.
The African Union is bent on promoting traditional medicine. That is why 2011 to 2020 was declared during one of the AU meetings, as the second decade of African Traditional Medicine Day.
I strongly believe it is some self-centered individuals hiding behind the Government to suppress traditional medicine.
How are traditional health practitioners going to fight back?
It is a lost battle for the Government. The Government has already lost the battle before trying to launch it.
There is no way you can fight against the popularity of traditional medicine. It is just like trying to fight the churches. Traditional medicine is a religion; it is a spiritual practice; it is a holistic practice.
We are going to fight in our own way. We know those greedy people who are behind it. How can they be fighting a practice backed by the United Nations? I know that even President Biya supports traditional medicine. It is regrettable that a few greedy people in positions of influence in the administration, team up to fight it. It would not take long for those fighting traditional medicine to go, but traditional medicine will still be there to take care of the health needs of the people.
Let me note here that nature identifies them. The angels and spirits know them .It is a battle that traditional doctors must fight to win, since the majority of Africans depend on traditional medicine.
Do you think those fighting traditional medicine can be spiritually arrested?
That is why I said the battle is not a physical but spiritual battle. Nature identifies people who fight nature, and nature is always against them. You will be surprised that those fighting us secretly rely on the same traditional doctors for various reasons.
If you search their bags and pockets you may be surprised to find concoctions they got from traditional doctors. Go to their offices, you find concoctions from the very people they pretend to be fighting against. These may be people who spend all their visiting witch doctors.
You can never fight nature. Fighting nature means fighting God. And such people will be spiritually arrested.
The argument put forward by Government is that traditional doctors are publicizing products that have not be certified or approved. Who is supposed to certify your medicinal drugs?
That is the question. Can a car novice certify a car, produced by professional manufacturers? Traditional medicinal drugs are produced by those who have natural, spiritual and mystical insights of traditional medicines. So, who will certify such? A conventional doctor, who is ignorant of how we work?
Our medicines don’t kill germs or bacteria. They work in special ways. Some say our medicines should be brought to the lab, to be proven that they cure, for instance, typhoid. In the lab the medicines may prove unable to kill germs. But in the human body, they will work. The best laboratory to test whether medicines work well is the human body. So, it is traditional healers who certify what they use.
I challenge anybody-be he a director of health, a conventional doctor, a delegate of health or a medical researcher, who thinks Dr. Fru is a charlatan to face me in a live televised debate. Let such a person come and let us see at the end who will be proven as a charlatan. I am very ready.
From your findings how is traditional medicine received in Cameroon?
Traditional medicine is very highly welcome. Traditional medicines are taken even by people in the highest offices places in Cameroon. There is no doubt about it. Visit the offices and you will see people consuming my products and are appreciative of them. Ministers, Governors, Directors, General Managers, Security chiefs, clergy men, conventional doctors etc take my medicinal drugs. They call me frequently to testify to their effectiveness. Who does not know about Dr. Fru in Cameroon? They follow my educative discussions in the media everywhere.
I challenge you to carry a vox pop and see what people would tell you about traditional medicine. Forget about the negative reactions in some government media from some people, interviewed for that purpose.
It is regrettable that they go and select a few people and ask them to talk against traditional medicine. We know the games!!
Who are they to challenge the World Health Organization (WHO) that says more that 80% of Africans depend on traditional medicine? History will judge them. Where are those who challenged traditional medicine in the past? Many of them are in prisons, some have been sacked and others retired.
Today, even scientists are turning to nature; the whole world is turning to nature, what God asked man to depend on. Those against the will of God will be spiritually arrested.
Do you have any appeal to Cameroon Government?
There are some authorities who are not informed on traditional medicine and so they are misled by opponents of traditional medicine, to take wrong decisions.
I want to think that some conventional doctors and nurses are licensed charlatans. Just as many pastors are licensed quacks. You go to the hospitals and doctors operate patients and they die so often. Who has condemned those doctors who operate upon patients and they die out of the former’s negligence or ignorance? Nobody! Because they say they are licensed.
I am calling on the Government to create a body that will screen and issue licenses to tested traditional health practioners.Can you imagine that seasoned traditional doctors are called charlatans? If the Government can come in, create a body that screens and issue licenses to traditional doctors, I think that will solve the problem of charlatanism.