President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday held a consultative meeting with a team of scientists from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the World Health Organization (WHO) and herbalists at State House, Entebbe, where he explained to them the importance of herbal medicine.
“I know herbal medicine. Some of them are incomparable. I was treated by local medicine until the age of eight, but I am now 77 years old. There is a plant called “Ekimara”. Since time immemorial, the Banyankole have used it to cure tapeworms, among other things. Africans kept this knowledge secret with their families,” he said.
The President called on doctors to work closely with the innovators of herbal medicine by doing clinical trials in the presence of the founders of the formulas (herbalists) in order to ward off mistrust and then identify the important elements that cure a given disease. .
“Once the trials are completed and the herb is considered good, let it be captured and recorded, thereby gaining intellectual property protection. Thereafter, let it be used at home and abroad said Museveni.
The president further asked the scientists to review the teaching program and see how students can also benefit from their research.
In her response, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero thanked the President for his tireless efforts in the development of a science-based economy, and in particular for the development of indigenous medicinal plants.
The Minister briefed the President on the 12-step natural therapeutic value chain including; Forests and Gardens, Herbalists, Technicians, Herbal Institutions, Intellectual Property Registration, Researchers, Clinical Trials, Regulatory Agencies, Manufacturing, Harvest and Market, International Customs Clearance, Consumer Trust and Marketing.
Dr. Musenero pledged to follow the President’s directives and also informed him of the need to acquire a laboratory machine that will be used for the trials. The president accepted the proposal.
Dignitaries present included Mr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, Dr Mwoga Joseph Ngobi and Dr Andrew Bakainaga Niwagaba from WHO; Ms. Brenda Nakazibwe, Coordinator of the Presidential Science Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE), Ms. Mary Nantongo and Dr. David Serukka, both PRESIDE staff; Dr Neville Oteba, Commissioner, Department of Pharmaceuticals and Natural Medicines (Ministry of Health), Dr Samuel Baker Obakiro, Researcher and Scientist at Busitema University and Dr Bruce Kirenga, Director of Mulago Lung Institute, who is also president of clinical trials on natural therapies (CONAT).
Others were Dr. Moses Ocan of the Department of Pharmacists at Makerere University College of Health Science, Dr. Grace Nambatya, director of the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute (NCRI), Dr. Robert Balikuddembe, researcher at NCRI, Dr. Jackie Kyosiimire, a scientist working at the Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI), Hajji Jamil Mukwaya Lutakome, Chairman of the National Drug Authority (NDA) Board Herbalists Association and Dr. Richard Komakech, NCRI Researcher .