Namibians find more TCM business opportunities amid COVID-19 lockdown

2020-06-23 12:12:22 Xinhua Xinhua

Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner Wang Peng treats a patient at his clinic in Namibian capital Windhoek on March 18, 2020. Namibia has made a bold move that will see more of its people have access to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) after officially approving such services. (Xinhua/Ding Xian)

Faced with job losses and severe salary cuts across different sectors after the economy was heavily affected by a two-month lockdown over COVID-19, some Namibian youths seek opportunities as agents for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Faced with job losses and severe salary cuts across different sectors after the economy was heavily affected by a two-month lockdown over COVID-19, some Namibian youths seek opportunities as agents for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Otilia Sheehama, who has found ways to supplement her income through the trade of TCM, told Xinhua that while many Namibians have taken long to adopt the different medicines for different ailments, those that have taken it up are giving her positive feedback.

"Most of my clients are very happy with the results they are getting from the different medicines that they buy. Some always get back saying it worked perfectly well," she said.

The young Namibian entrepreneur said she normally imports her consignments from China for re-sale through a South African distributor who then forwards these to Namibia for many other distributors across that country.

"Xiangzhiling is a form of Chinese traditional medicine made from herbs. It helps to fight different ailments such as stroke, cancer, and also fibroids for women. I have been trading this Chinese medicine for a few months now and most of my clients are giving feedback after using. Most people call me with positive feedback," she said.

Sheehama added that while most Namibians are warming up to TCM because of its efficiency and cheaper price, the trade has since been affected by the advent of COVID-19 which has created a stumbling block in their importation chain.

"The major challenge we face now is the delays that we are currently experiencing as we are not able to import these from South Africa as there is not much movement because of the blockade in airline space by most countries to fight the spread of COVID-19," she said.

Ndapewa Johannes (33) who has been in TCM trading for the past two years told Xinhua that she has also found an entrepreneurial niche in trading traditional Chinese medicine.

"When I started a few years ago it was not easy because I did not have a supply chain, now that I have managed to have a solid supply chain from China and also South Africa I am able to distribute my product to different clients across Namibia," she said.

"Recently my business has boomed since the advent of the COVID-19 lockdown when most people were requesting for immune-boosting medicine that we import from China. Most people are consuming immune-boosting medicine to stay healthy," she said.

Namibian Minister of Health and Social Services Kalumbi Shangula told Xinhua that Namibia and China have a mutual agreement that has also seen Chinese acupuncture being formally offered at the Katutura State Hospital which is Namibia's second-largest referral hospital.

"So far many people are being treated with Chinese acupuncture at Katutura hospital and this has been recognized by the Namibian medical fraternity," he said.

Meanwhile, vice president of the Pharmaceutical Council of Namibia Ulrich Ritter, described TCM as well accepted and used in many countries worldwide including Namibia for different ailments.

"Traditional Chinese medicine is well accepted and used in Namibia and the world," he said.

"Acupuncture, in this case, is a skill that is used by the Chinese expects as a healing technique and is being used in Namibia while the usage of Traditional Chinese medicine is also happening in Namibia for different people," he added.

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