This past week I had the pleasure of working with the Learn2Live team in Wallacedene. I held a 45minute workshop for mums and teachers about basic natural medicine remedies for babies and children. The aim of this was to educate the women and give them more control over the health and welfare of their family.
Many of the women expressed that they would try to ‘leave’ their child’s mild ailments, in the hope that it would resolve itself, in order to avoid taking a day off work and sitting at the clinic.
According to “Trading Economics” (2013), the total spent on healthcare within South Africa was around R248.6-billion – or 8.93% of the GDP. This far exceeds the 5% expenditure recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). They also stated that 48.43% of this budget goes towards the public health sector (clinics) and this does not include hospital beds or the salaries of Community Health Workers, Nurses, Midwives or Physicians. Furthermore, there are 4200 public health facilities in South Africa with the people-per-clinic sky rocketing at 13718 and exceeding the WHO guidelines of 10000 per clinic. These statistics indicate that the public health sector is a burden on the state. The author of “Health care in South Africa” speculates that high levels of poverty and unemployment are responsible for this burden. However, I believe that public education also plays a role and can do much to alleviate the burden. Even if this education starts at simple remedies for the onset of colds, coughs, flu, diarrhoea and constipation, this would already remove a substantial percentage of people relying on clinics and government funded medicines. This would leave the facilities available for people with more serious conditions, who truly need the assistance of the nurses and clinics.
As part of my plight towards this education, the workshop covered topics such as; burns, cuts, coughs, colds, congested sinuses, diarrhoea, inflammation and earache. The remedies presented during the workshop consisted mostly of external applications or food grade herbs and spices that are safe for use in children. Out of this, I would love to share with you two basic remedies for babies. (These remedies are for educational purposes and do not seek to diagnose or cure any disease.)
The difficulty with treating babies is that there are so many safety precautions. But, did you know…if you simply slice up half an onion and place it on a plate next to a babies bed while they sleep the sulphides will circulate in the air. When your baby breathes these sulphides in it helps to break down mucous and, thus, helps to relieve a congested chest and congested sinuses.
Most of us also know about the benefits of garlic! It has been used for centuries as an antibiotic and is especially beneficial for colds and phlegmy coughs. But how do you give it to your baby? Well…finely slice a fresh garlic clove and wrap it in a small piece of cloth. Wrap this to the bottom of your baby’s foot. It takes one drop of blood 1min to circulate around a baby’s body and 2 minutes for garlic to be smelled on their breath. After a long nap you can remove the wrapping and the garlic. You will usually find that the garlic is dry because all the ‘good juice’ has been absorbed into the body. Make sure you DON’T place the garlic directly on the skin as this will cause a blister!
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Health care in South Africa. 2016. Health care in South Africa. [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.southafrica.info/about/health/health.htm#.Vs1fj5x97IV. [Accessed 24 February 2016].
Health expenditure – public (% of total health expenditure) in South Africa . 2016. Health expenditure – public (% of total health expenditure) in South Africa . [ONLINE] Available at:http://www.tradingeconomics.com/south-africa/health-expenditure-public-percent-of-total-health-expenditure-wb-data.html. [Accessed 24 February 2016].