By John Masaba
National Drug Authority (NDA) has started a countrywide campaign to clamp down on fake massage therapists.
NDA said some therapists are ripping off the public and are using equipment that could potentially have adverse health risks to humans.
“Some of them (therapists) claim to heal many diseases including backache, diabetes but our tests found that this is not true,” said NDA’s Regional Drug inspector, Zaidi Mwondha.
“We have been getting a lot of complaints from the public. We can’t allow the practice to go on,” he said.
On Thursday, NDA and Police arrested five people at Kibuye Round About in Kampala. It also impounded an assortment of equipment and tins of food supplements.
Mwondha said the swoop would be extended to the rest of the country in the coming weeks.
New Vision has established that some companies popular with Ugandans like Cergaem and Tiens could be affected. Efforts to speak to Tiens and Cergaem were futile.
The clamp down on the therapist is coming two years ago after New Vision broke a story that uncovered many cases of manipulation by the therapists. A reporter went into rooms in Mbuya were the patients were being treated and was able to document many incidents of manipulation of patients and there was no value for huge fees the patients were paying to get the services.
In spite of a number of officials including NDA admitting the company’s work was dubious, no action was taken.
Most of the equipment used in Uganda are imported into the country from China and South Korea and are used as detoxifiers.
Although used widely in the modern science to heal stress and provide relaxation as well improve blood circulation, Mwondha said massage therapy using machines should be used with a lot of caution.
In china Nanchang, Jiangxi province where the thermal massager supplied by Ceragem (now having many outlets in Uganda) was used, there were complaints of dizziness and brittle bones from user which forced china to ban the equipment as a result, according to www.chinacsr.com.
Mwondha said the equipment are supposed to be used by trained personnel but shrewd Ugandans employ people with no training at all, endangering lives of many.
He said it is legal to use the machines but any user seeking to do commercial therapies must first get a licence from NDA.