By Stephen Enatu
Herbalists in Teso Region have refused to reveal their herbal recipes to National Drug Authority (NDA).
In a stakeholders’ meeting held on Friday 23rd April 26, 2021 between the herbalists and NDA in Soroti City, the herbalists expressed fear that NDA wants to steal their knowledge.
According to section 33 of the National Drug policy and Authority Act and Control of publication and advertisement relating to drugs regulation of 2004, all drug related adverts, promotional materials, activities and events are subjected to vetting by NDA.
Among which, it requires that a herbalist fills the form of notification of local traditional medicines in Uganda indicating the product used, dosage form, ingredient, part of the plant or preparation among others.
However during the stakeholder meeting to strengthen the regulation of herbal medicine in Teso region by NDA, herbalists expressed fear that the government’s move is to abolish their activities.
Bashir Anyakau, one of the herbalists stressed that NDA wants to abolish them after knowing what they use in making herbal medicine.
“I am suspecting the National Drug Authority is going to abolish us if they get to know the formula we use, eventually our work won’t be relevant,” Anyakau said.
Meanwhile Waiswa Sahidi, also a herbalist noted that the government should encourage them by rewarding their effort as it seeks to understand their formula in making herbal medicine.
“This is what we inherit from our grandparents and if everyone gets to know how we do it, how shall we survive?” Waswa said.
While responding to the concern, Michael Mutyaba, the Manager of Traditional Complementary Medicines and Health Products at NDA emphasized that the information is meant for quality assurance and is kept confidential.
“Our aim is to ensure that your products are of quality. We don’t deal in selling medicine, we regulate. What is your formula or intellectual property is what we are after,” Mutyaba emphasized.
The president Uganda Herbalists Association, Jamir Mukwaya said that the herbalists in Uganda will now be streamlined with the new traditional and complementary medicine act that now recognizes their work.
He said it’s important for herbalists to be licensed and regulated.
“The act is not there to eliminate them but many of them who are quacks will run away. The act is there to eliminate the indisciplined ones and I welcome those who will quit immediately because I want our work to be clean as our great grandfathers and mothers used to practice,” Mukwaya said.