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Traditional healers go digital, create App

By Julius Luwemba

Added 15th December 2017 12:08 PM

"The app will direct clients to herbalists/healers with specialisation in treating particular diseases."

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"The app will direct clients to herbalists/healers with specialisation in treating particular diseases."

PIC: Saazi (right), the secretary general of the Uganda National Traditional Herbalists and Healersn addressing the media as IT expert Lutalo looks on. (Credit: Julius Luwemba)

Traditional healers and herbalists under their umbrella Uganda National Traditional Herbalists and Healers also known as Uganda n'eddagala ly'ayo, have created a website plus an application (App), which they say will help in curbing criminality involved in their work.

During a media brief on Tuesday in Entebbe municipality, Saazi Kakooza, the secretary general of the association said many fraudsters and murderers have disguised themselves as herbalists, tainting the image of traditional healing.

"As we celebrate 52 years of our existence, we felt that integrating technology with our work, would be prudent and, therefore, hope that come December 20, the App will officially be launched by President Yoweri Museveni at Kololo Grounds, where the celebrations will be held," Saazi said.

Joseph Lutalo, who heads the Information and Technology department in the association, revealed that the App, known as nuchwezi, has got provisions for a registration form to be filled by practitioners with personal data and addresses.

"This App is found on google play store and when a client downloads and uses it, it be be able to direct that client to herbalists/healers with specialisation in treating particular diseases.

The App will also help us locate and trace the user to whatever shrine they have gone to and in case of any problem, we can track the traditional healer," Lutalo noted.

The association's IT expert further confided that they will be able to transfer all the information regarding criminality to relevant security agencies for prosecution.

Saazi said Uganda's legal system does not provide for, nor cater for cases that fall under witchcraft because Police cannot ably gather evidence regarding the same.

"The 1955 Witchcraft Act describes whoever uses natural herbs as a witch doctor and that act was formulated by colonialists who wanted to erase our culture," Saazi stated.

In July this year, traditional healers, under their Association - Uganda Ne Ddagala Lyayo - petitioned Parliament requesting for representation.

Presenting their demands, the association's president, Karim Walyabira, said there are so many fraudsters who have infiltrated their work. He asked Parliament to enact laws regulating their activities and empowering them to serve better.

On the proposal for a legal framework under which traditional healers would operate, Kadaga said it is necessary and that Parliament would consider its enactment.

She commended them for the efforts to conserve the environment and also promised to help them in getting support from the relevant government authorities like the Micro support centre.

Uganda National Traditional Herbalists and Healers Association (Uganda N'eddagala Ly'ayo) was founded in 1963 and was formerly licensed to operate under the laws of Uganda in 1965 to co-ordinate national programme to develop traditional medicines, preserve and conserve plant genetic resources.

The association will hold celebrations on December 20 at Kololo grounds to mark 52 years of existence. The guest of honour is expected to be President Museveni and the Chinese Ambassador, Zheng ZhuQiang.

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