Uganda to celebrate two decades of African Traditional Medicine Day

Positive signs of traditional and conventional health systems working in parallel for the good of their patients is that referrals of patients between the two sectors are now taking place routinely in 17 countries

WHO in the African Region has supported joint missions with partners to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda, to monitor clinical trials of traditional medicine-based therapeutics proposed for COVID-19, eight of which are ongoing (PHOTO/Courtesy)

As African Medicine becomes an answer to the increasing diseases in the changing world, the world health organization has devised means of recognizing the African traditional medicine and through this the African traditional medicine day which Uganda through the ministry of health under Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute (NCRI) has adopted since 2001.

Before the introduction of the Tablets in Africa, Africans concentrated on traditional herbs which effectively used to treat diseases until today and people have discovered traditional medicines according to the nature of diseases. In recognition of this vital role played by Traditional Medicine and traditional healers in healthcare systems, the WHO launched its first ever comprehensive Traditional Medicine strategy in 2002.

Since then, African countries have been commemorating African Medicine Day Commemorations every 31st of August of each year.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, a virtual 19th African Traditional Medicine Day (ATMD) symposium was organized in Uganda by Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute (NCRI) under Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals and Natural Medicines in the Ministry of Health with support from partner organizations on the 31st August, 2021 under the theme, “The potential contribution of TM to the COVID-19 response.”

The symposium was also based on the sub-themes of Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) regulation and quality assurance, Biodiversity and conservation of TCM plants, Research, innovation and product development, Veterinary Traditional medicine and COVID-19, Intellectual property rights and knowledge management and Policy environment for TCM.

In the two decades of African Traditional Medicine commemoration, Uganda has achieved a lot in Traditional Medicine especially in the areas of national policies, growing of medicinal plants, training of traditional health practitioners, research and development and promoting collaboration of Traditional Health Practitioners with conventional counter parts.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 80% of people in developing countries rely on Traditional medicine for their Primary Health Care needs and in many African communities Traditional Medicine has been trusted, accepted, and assumed to be affordable and easily accessible.

It’s therefore thought that in the future, traditional medicine will overtake the present tablets which are recognized and endorsed by the world health organization as the effective drugs which some Africans do not agree with since Africans are effectively making innovations and fast-track research and development in relation to the changing technological world.

Also as strange disease continue to breakout, Africans have resorted to bringing back the old sciences of the continent’s traditional medicines.

The Natural Chemotherapeutic Research Institute (NCRI) under Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation- Office of the President in collaboration with the stakeholders are now planning to organize the 20th Africa Traditional Medicine Day (ATMD) Commemoration from 26th to 28th October 2022 at Lubiri, Mengo in Kampala with the aim of taking stock and reflect on progress Uganda has achieved in the Traditional Medicine in the last two decades in reference to the theme presented by the WHO Regional representative which is Progress towards achieving Universal Health Coverage in Africa.

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