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Medics in bid for collaboration with traditional herbalists

Gulu

In a bid to establish a conducive working environment between traditional herbalists and conventional medics, the faculty of medicine at Gulu University has started a scheme that will create a better identification and understanding of plants and trees that are used in healing some disease and alignments.

This was revealed during a stakeholders meeting on Wednesday in the senior Pharmacist at Gulu Regional hospital by the Coordinator of the Pharmacy department, Ms Alice Lamwaka who noted that 80 per-cent of patients in the region first visit traditional herbalist who most often manage to treat patients effectively.

“Since communities visit them first, there is need to give them the basics understandings of tools they use in their trade,” Lamwaka said.

Ms Lamwaka added that not much is known about herbalists and their medicine and when they die, such medicines are lost because there is no good working relationship with them and no data has been collected from them.

Mr Opika Opoka, the Plant Taxonomist and Ecologist at Gulu University, said that the majority of patients in communities who seek redress from traditional herbalist argue that hospitals are too expensive.

“There is need for immediate partnership with the herbalists so that we collect data from them, on what kind of plants and trees they use in curing diseases,” he said.

He noted that a survey he carried out in 2008 in the Busoga region indicated that herbalists have broad knowledge of plants that can be used as medicines when modified but for a long time they have been neglected or rubbished.

A senior herbalists at Patiko sub County Ms Joyce Lakor who has cured close to 500 popele especially Hernia patients, Hypertension, control of diabetes and barrenness, says that the medics was cautious about revealing the secrets of their trade, saying that it might lead to their demise.

“Majority of us did not go to school though we have the basics, we need a clear memorandum of understanding with the ministry of health so that we can move with them round showing them how we mix leaves of different trees and plants to get better medicine to cure people, but not to work against us” she said.


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