SIRâ€” We thank you for the article, â€œHerbalism is not about witchcraftâ€ that you ran on April 27 in the Science, Research and Technology pages of the New Vision. However, there were some factual errors we wish to correct.
Dr Jaco Homsy is not the director of THETA. The present director is Dr Dorothy Balaba. Dr Homsy is a founder member along with nine other eminent Ugandan and foreign doctors, scientists, academics and healers.
THETA is a non-profit non-governmental organisation supported by various governmental and international donors.
As such, its services are totally free of charge and only on public health.
Therefore, it has never sold any of the tincture developed as you said in collaboration with Fr Mwebe as you said in the article.
To do so at the price quoted by your reporter would be gross exploitation of the public!
Your table of â€œtraditional herbs that heal certain ailmentsâ€ mistakenly lists a number of â€œcuresâ€.
But THETA believes that any treatment called a â€˜cureâ€™ must be documented and supported by rigorous research demonstrating its efficacy. The herbs listed do not pass this test. As such, they are only â€œtreatmentsâ€ and not cures â€” to avoid misleading the public.
Finally, we wish you had enlightened your public further by stating that not only herbalism, but the whole of African traditional medicine, has nothing to do with witchcraft.
Traditional medicine has helped generations of Africans bear children and keep good health for centuries before the arrival of Western medicine.
According to WHO, it continues to be used by the majority of the population of this continent.
Worldwide, it has given rise to the development of numerous modern drugs, some of them among the most widely used, like aspirin, quinine, vincristine (a cancer drug), artemisinine (the most recent and potent anti-malarial), and digoxine (one of the most widely used heart medicines worldwide).
These have all been used by traditional health practitioners for generations before modern medicine put them in tablet form.
Yet, the healers who found these cures were not chemists or pharmacologists, but shamans, spiritualists, diviners and priests in addition to being herbalists.
Through centuries of trial and error as well as their unexplained faculties, they discovered these medicines. But this is not witchcraft as dubbed by Western scientists.
Genuine African traditional medicine is about healing, witchcraft is about destruction. It is a holistic practice to help the body, mind and soul to maintain wellbeing.
Dr J. Homsy, Dr A. Opio,
and Dr D. Balaba
THETA is non-profit organisation whose services, activities are totally free of charge