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Enhancing collaboration of Scientific Clinical Practice and Traditional Health Practice: 21st century and beyond

The Vaal University of Technology's Dihlare Remedy hosted its first International Conference on Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Medicine Researchers and Traditional Healers (TK&TM) at Quest Conference Estate, in Vanderbijlpark, from 3-5 April 2019. The theme was "Enhancing the Collaboration of Scientific Clinical Practice and Traditional Health Practice: 21st Century and beyond".

"On behalf of the organising committee, I am delighted to welcome you all to VUT's first International Conference on Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Medicine Researchers and Traditional Healers. This is the first conference that our university is hosting, and hope its success will lead to many being organised in the future," said chairperson of the organising committee, Dr Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye during her welcoming speech.

She continued: "I would like to express my gratitude to all participants of the TK&TM 2019 and hope that the conference will catalyse fruitful discussions, research ideas and collaborations."

The three-day event began with a word of welcome from the Executive Dean of Applied and Computer Sciences, Prof Raymond Mabuza, and was graced by the presence of Makgomo Raikana, MMC: Health and Social Development. The conference was attended by researchers, local traditional health practitioners and a few from other African countries. Its aim is to provide a platform for participants to present their research, to bridge the gap between traditional health practitioners and researchers, and for all to learn more about government support in both areas of medicine.

During the conference, Dr Simphiwe Nelana, Executive Director: Research Directorate, also pledged his support for this venture of enhancing the collaboration between the two healthcare practitioners. Several interesting research papers on traditional medicines used to cure different diseases were presented.

Researchers demonstrated that the "ancient ways of healing" can be incorporated into the 21st century. They proved through empirical findings that medicinal plants can be turned into products that treat diseases and improve general health and well-being. Some herbs, they argued, have such potent ingredients that they should be taken with the same level of caution as pharmaceuticals.

Sponsors of the conference were, among others, University of Limpopo, Labotech in Vanderbijpark, VUT FACS Executive Dean's office, the Department of Chemistry, Department of Health Sciences, Department of Physics and Non-Destructive Testing, the Research Directorate and the Science Technology, Transfer and Innovation Directorate.

Exhibitors included VUT Dihlare Remedy; VUT Ambio; Organocare (UP Prof Namrita Lall); Dr Hlati Products Limpopo (Dr Sylvester Hlati); Vida Products (Patricia Mathivha); Technology Transfer and Innovation Wellness Clinic (Smarty Mzila); TC Medical Supplies (Tony Chukwu); as well as Moringa and Hemp (Yoonus Mitha).

In closing, Prof Martha Pinkoane (please write her designation as well) thanked the delegates. "You crowned us and this moment will go down in history of VUT as a hallmark and foundation of TKTM, which no one can erase, it is a building block for future engagements.'' She thanked the organising team, events co-ordinator team and the dedicated sponsors who made this event possible.