By Carol Kasujja
The National Drug Authority (NDA) has arrested 10 fake herbalists and 2 Masais for stocking, selling and hawking drugs and defrauding people in Kawempe, Wandegeya, Kalerwe, Natete and Nakawa.
When NDA carried out a test from the samples of the herbs on the market, they found out that most herbalists mix chloroform with the drugs.
They carried out a research and found out that 50 per cent of the Ugandan population seeks care from traditional and complementary medicine practitioners because the prices are affordable before resorting to modern health facilities. Yet the herbs are dangerous.
“We did a test last year and found out that herbalists sell tea leaves and defraud people and also use chloroform as a preservative in the herbs, yet we banned chloroform as a preservative ten years ago because it causes cancer,” said Florence Nakacwa, the head of herbal unit at NDA.
Nakacwa noted that most herbalists especially the Masai’s who move from one place to another with 5-litre jerry cans are fake, give wrong prescriptions yet some of their chemicals are dangerous. They do not have licenses to sell drugs and they do not know what they are doing, she noted.
“Hawking of drugs is prohibited, just as there are no hawking medical clinics, hospitals and doctors there should not be any hawking herbal drugs. They should apply to NDA for certification to operate, they are supposed to have drug shops, label their drugs and also stop selling drugs in mineral water bottles, if anyone is found walking, using a car or any other means to hawk drugs will be sanctioned,’’ she warned.
She urged herbalists to operate within the laws guiding traditional healers in medicine and called upon to Ugandans to shun herbalists.