By Ambrose Gahene
Speaking during the 4th annual National Traditional medicine conference held at Hotel African last week, Dr. Joseph Baguma, the executive director of Theta said that herbal medicine is an important arm of health care in the country, though with a caveat. “People are dying because of ignorance. We have the plants that can treat these complicated diseases. The belief that the use of herbal medicine is a sign of poverty and backwardness is not right. If our herbalist start doing research and publishing it, many people will not be dying, but people are dying because they have no information,” said Baguma. Baguma also called upon traditional medicine practitioners to stop treating diseases by impression and experience, but to always first do diagnosis to find out what the patient is suffering from. Addressing herbalists, Professor George Kirya, a microbiologist also emphasized diagnosis. He advised herbalists to stop guessing while administering their medicine.
“Some diseases have the same symptoms and signs. So, if you treat by guessing without doing scan, x-ray and taking some blood tests, you might treat a wrong disease with the right medicine. Therefore, for people to have more confidence in your practice, always first do diagnosis,” noted Kirya. Prof. Evariste Baruga of Wandegeya research clinic argued that herbalists in their current state are not protected from international manufacturers who easily manipulate them.“We can live on this earth beyond 100 years because the diseases killing us are few and we have the medicinal plants here in Uganda to treat them, but we are not protected”, he said.