This publication yesterday published a story that should interest us in many ways. The story is that locals in a village in Busia Municipality in Busia District, eastern Uganda, are using camel urine, fat and dung to treat diseases instead of visiting health facilities. The diseases they claim to cure include diabetes, cancer, skin infections, measles, and high blood pressure, among others. The recipients and administers of the herbal medicine such as Jaberi Kanga, also claim – without prove - such has been used in the Arab countries.
This is just one of the many stories of Ugandans using local medicine to treat illnesses. In some occasions, there are reports that cancer patients also use aloevera and avoid chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The reasons for this kind of developments are wide ranging. It could be that the patients cannot afford the ever-increasing cost of medication, or that they cannot access proper medical facilities across the country, or it could be that they have been disillusioned by modern medicine and have fallen back to the traditional ways of treatment.
Our view on this matter comes in a double-edged sword: Scientists in Uganda and elsewhere should give this a microscopic view with the aim of establishing the dangers of such treatment or finding out what unique ingredients of these medicines.
If clinically proven that the camel products do actually treat the ailments as stated, then more research should be devoted to the properties there-in and we could end up with a major breakthrough in the fight against such ailments.
The Ministry of Health, for example, should rush to Busia and examine all those that have taken such doses. They should find out if the recipients were actually ill and if the medicine worked or not, or what the side effects – if any – are.
This is because the dangers of such concoctions that have not been scientifically examined and recommended for human use is far-reaching; they could mutate into more dangerous elements within the human body or could result in resistance against clinical medicine.
Important to note also is that many of the ailments listed by the locals are lifestyle-related. Such ailments have been attributed to alcohol, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.
Reports also indicate that by 2030, the proportion of total global deaths due to chronic diseases is expected to increase to 70 per cent; with the greatest increase anticipated in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions. The time to act is now.