On the 7th January 2008 the Traditional Health Practitioners was signed by the President. The Traditional Health Practitioners ACTA aims to: Establish the Interim Health Practitioners Council of South Africa. Provide for a regulatory framework to ensure efficacy, safety and quality of traditional health care services. To provide for the management and control over the registration, training and conduct of practitioners, students and specified categories in the traditional health practitioners profession.
To provide tort matters connected therewith. This paper provides a summary and analysis of the Traditional Health Practitioners Act: Chapter l: Definitions Chapter I lists definitions used in the Act. It then describes the purpose of the Act, as described above, to: 1) Establish the Interim Health Practitioners Council of South Africa. 2) Provide for the registration, training and practices Of traditional health practitioners. 3) Serve and protect the interests of members of the public who use the services Of traditional health practitioners.
This Act applies to both traditional health practitioners and students engaged in or learning traditional health practice. Chapter 2: Establishment and governance of Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council of South Africa Section 4 aims to establish the Interim Traditional Health Practitioners Council. The term of office of the Council is three years, which may be extended by the Minister tort a period up to 24 months. The objectives of the Council, amongst others, are to: Promote public health awareness Ensure the quality of health services within the traditional health practice.
Protect and serve the interests of members of the public who use or are affected by the services of traditional health practitioners. Promote and maintain appropriate ethical and professional standards required from traditional health practitioners. Promote contact between the various fields Of training within rotational health practice and to set standards for such training. Compile and maintain a professional code Of conduct for traditional health practice. Ensure that traditional health practice conforms to universally accepted health care norms and values.
The Council Will, therefore, be responsible for: Issuing guidelines for traditional health practices and for conducting investigations into complaints concerning the conduct of registered traditional health practitioners. Approving minimum requirements with regards to education and training of traditional health practitioners in consultation with elevate departments, quality assessment bodies or a body of traditional health practitioners accredited by the Council for this purpose, Establishing registers tort the various categories of traditional health practitioners.
The Council will consist of a maximum of 22 members appointed by the Minister in the prescribed manner. Sections 7 to 17 outline the make-up and functioning of the Council. Chapter 3: Registrar, staff of registrar, and registration procedures Section 18 empowers the Minister, after consultation with the Council, to appoint, as well as to dismiss a Registrar. The Act stipulates that the Registrars appointment is subject to a written performance agreement entered into by the Minister and the person.
It appoints the Registrar as secretary and accounting officer Of the Council. An important function Of the Registrar is to maintain and update a register Of traditional health practitioners and students in South Africa. The Registrar may appoint members Of staff, but terms and conditions Of staff and the Registrar are determined by the Council, with the approval of the Minister of Health, in consultation with the Minister of Finance. Sections 21 to 25 deal with the procedures to register as a traditional health recantation or student.
The Act seeks to prohibit persons from practicing as a traditional health practitioner in South Africa, unless they are registered in terms of the Act. Persons wishing to register as either practitioner or a student must apply to the Registrar and the application must include the following: Proof of South African citizenship. Character references by persons not related to the applicant. Proof of qualifications. Prescribed registration fee. Any other information relating to the application that Council may consider necessary.
The Minister may prescribe the minimum qualifications required for registration, n the recommendation of the Council, by means of examinations conducted by an accredited institution, educational authority or Other examination authority in the country. Section 23 sets out conditions under which the Registrar, on instruction from the Council, must remove or restore the name of any person on the register. Reasons for removal from the register,include, amongst others, death, denouncing citizenship, permanent departure from the country, guilt on the basis of improper or disgraceful conduct, and registration through error or fraud.
The certificate of registration is valid proof of registration for a period of one year, after which an annual practicing certificate is issued (upon payment tot annual fee and submission of other information required by the Council. Section 27 affords for a person aggrieved by a decision of the Registrar the opportunity to lodge an appeal within 30 days from the date of such decision with the Council, In addition, aggrieved persons may appeal against Council’s decision to the appropriate High Court.
Section 28 empowers the Council to make rules prescribing conditions relating to continuing education and training, the nature and extent of such training, and he criteria for recognition of courses and education institutions offering such courses. Chapter 4: Disciplinary enquiries and investigations by Council The Act afford any person, following prescribed procedure, the right to submit a complaint to the Council about treatment provided by a registered practitioner or student. The Council may institute an inquiry into any complaint, allegation or charge of unprofessional conduct.
On finding the person guilty, Council may impose a number of penalties, including: A caution or a reprimand, or both. Suspension trot practicing for a specified period. Removal of his or her name from the register. A prescribed tee. A period of compulsory community service determined by the Council, The payment of the costs of the proceedings. Restitution of any money paid by the complainant to the registered practitioner Should a complaint, charge or allegation be likely to form the subject of a criminal case in a Court of law, the Council may postpone the holding of an inquiry until such case has been concluded.
The Registrar may, with the approval of the Council Chairperson, appoint member or non-member of the Council, as the investigating officer. However, investigating officers must be issued With a certificate to the effect of having been appointed. Section 32, authorizes an investigating Officer to, under certain conditions, enter and search any premises, other than a private dwelling, without an entry or search warrant. Such an entry and search must be executed by day, unless its execution by night is justifiable and necessary.
In this regard, no personal particulars relating to a patient may be disclosed, except in terms of a court order or the consent of the presiding officer at an inquiry. An investigating officer must compile a report of the investigation and submit t to the Registrar. Even in the absence of a complaint, charge or allegation, but where an investigative report reveals evidence of improper or disgraceful conduct, such report should be regarded as a complaint made for purposes tot an inquiry. As such, the Registrar must a copy of the report to the registered person concerned.
Section 34 sets out the procedure at an inquiry. It stipulates that if an appeal is lodged against the penalty for removal from the register or suspension from practice, such a penalty will remain effective until the appeal is heard. In respect f inquiry proceedings, the Council must give notice to the person who is the subject of the inquiry. The Council must give such persons an opportunity to represent themselves or obtain legal representation, and afford them an opportunity to state their case in response to allegations.
Chapter 5: General and supplementary provisions Section 42 provides for fees charged by registered traditional health practitioners. It stipulates that the intended fee to be charged must be made known to the patient before a service is rendered. A practitioner claiming payment must, subject to the provisions Of the Medical Schemes Act (Act NO. 31 of 1 938), where applicable, provide the patient with a detailed account within a reasonable period. The patient may apply, within three months, to the Council to determine the amount the patient should have been charged.
The Council may, from time to time, determine and publish the fees it uses as the norm for the determination of amounts when a patient request the Council’s input on being represented with an account. Section 43 provides for matters relating to false representation to procure registration, false entries into the register and impersonations of registered errors. Persons found guilty could be penalized through a fine or period of imprisonment, or both. Section 44 outlines the limitations in respect of unregistered people.
Section 45 seeks to allow a person, authorized in writing by the Council, to investigate any matter relating to the teaching or training of an individual or class of persons with the aim of registering as traditional health practitioner. Such a person is further authorized to enter any institution or premises utilizes for teaching and training. Attempts to hinder such person from entering any institution or remises are defined as an Offence. Section 47 describes the Regulations Which the Minister, after consultation With the Council, may make, relating to (amongst others): The appointment of members of the Council.
Registration of students. Candidates for examinations. The conditions under which a registered person may practice as a traditional health practitioner, The registration of the categories of registered persons (diviners, herbalists, traditional birth assistants, and traditional surgeons. The conduct of an inquiry. Traditional medicines in order to protect the public and to ensure the safety of SE, administration or application, Scope of practice of the various categories of traditional health practitioners.
Section 48 pertains to the rules which the Council may make, their publication in the Government Gazette and the provision for interested person to comment. Section g presents the offences contemplated under the Act, These include, but are not limited to the act of: Practicing as a traditional health practitioner or student for gain, when not registered. Diagnosing, treating or offering to treat, or prescribing treatment or any cure for cancer, HIVE and AIDS or any other prescribed terminal disease. Pretending to be registered, when indeed it is not the case.