Herbalists demand MP seat, ministry

A traditional healer demonstrates one of their activities. PHOTO/COURTESY/UN. 

What you need to know:

Traditional healers under their association, the National Traditional Healers and Herbalists organisation, are demanding representation in Parliament, claiming they have been left out in most government programmes.

They say their issues are not well debated by legislators which have reportedly excluded them from government programmes like Operation Wealth Creation, National Agriculture Advisory Services (Naads), Prosperity for All and Emyoga, among others.

Mr Godfrey Kayizi, the spokesperson of the association, in a press conference on Monday said if they get a representative in Parliament, the sector will also improve.

“We have native herbalists who know herbal drugs which can treat epidemic diseases but because of lack of representation in Parliament, they are not recognised,’’ he said.

Recently, the government cleared Mr David Ssenfuka, a herbalist and proprietor of Leona NNN Medical Research and Diagnostics Centre that produces herbal drugs, after the National Chemotherapeutics Research Institute (NCRI), to conduct pre-clinical analysis on the firm’s herbal products.

“If we get at least two parliamentary representatives for traditional healers and herbalists, we shall get to have the right Bill governing us unlike the Bill that was brought without enough consultation from us that we did not agree with,’’ Mr Kayizi added.

Mr Karim Walyabira, the president general of the association, said they also want creation of a special and independent ministry in-charge of culture.

“In our view, the creation of that ministry will go a long way in the revival and promotion of the rich cultural heritage and diversity that Uganda is endowed with,’’ he said.

Mr Walyabira added that several groups and associations are offered government development funds unlike them.

The traditional healers claim to be part of the ministry of Health, and that of Gender, Labour and Social Development because they use herbal products to treat people.


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