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CSOs Ask Gov't to Recognize Herbal Medicines for COVID-19 Treatment

Geoffrey Okello, the Executive Director of Gulu NGO Forum says herbal medicines can support the treatment of patients with COVID-19 and he advised the government to examine those already in existence since so far, science has failed to discover a remedy yet the infection rates are soaring beyond control.
16 Sep 2020 05:29
Dr. Alice Veronica Lamwaka explaining on different herbal medicines at Gulu Univerity Bio Technology and Pharmacitical on tradtional medicine

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Civil Society Organizations in Northern Uganda have asked the government to recognize herbal medicines in treating patients with COVID-19.

Geoffrey Okello, the Executive Director of Gulu NGO Forum says herbal medicines can support the treatment of patients with COVID-19 and he advised the government to examine those already in existence since so far, science has failed to discover a remedy yet the infection rates are soaring beyond control. 

“Science has failed to discover the medicines for this virus and maybe it’s locally within us and that’s why the government should allow traditional medicines in the country go for trial,” Okello said. Similarly, Francis Odongyoo, the Executive Director of Human Rights Focus says the government needs to use a community-led approach and focus on local solutions in managing the crisis.

Dr Alice Veronica  Lamwaka, a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Bio-Technology and Pharmaceutical Study on traditional medicines at Gulu University, says there are already herbal medicines that can be put to trial, some of which are already being used for treating patients with ulcers, asthma and Tuberculosis of the bone.

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“If we can locally treat these conditions then it means we have the potential to even treat patients with COVID-19” Dr Lamwaka urged. She further explained that the University has acquired 56 hectares of land for its biodiversity plant garden and has trained more 200 herbalists in the Country whose products can offer services in healthcare.

However, Emmanuel Ainebyona, the Senior Public Relation Officer in the Ministry of Health says the Ministry does not discourage the use of herbal medicines when the normal procedures are followed. He has asked those with medicines to go through the National Chemotherapy Institute for testing.

“We all know that no science has linked us with specific drugs for the cure of COVID-19 and we don’t know where it will come from but if it’s with the herbalists then it should undergo processes,” Ainebyona said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) are already pushing for COVID-19 traditional medicine research in Africa.

The agencies have formed a 25-member expert advisory panel to provide scientific advice and support to countries on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicine for fighting COVID-19. The panel, selected from Central, Eastern, Southern and West African countries will coordinate support to African countries to collaborate in undertaking clinical trials with a focus on traditional medicine-based therapies.

Traditional medicine, according to a study, is the health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs combining plant, animal and mineral-based medicines applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being. It also includes spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises.