By Max Patrick Ocaido
Parliament has passed the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Bill, 2015 that is aimed at integrating traditional medicine into the national health care system.
On Tuesday evening, the Bill was read for the 2nd time where the House chaired by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga scrutinized the bill clause by clause following recommendations from Health committee report before adopting it and subsequently passing it.
Parliament believes that the new law will reduce on the importation of medicines and attainment of universal health care coverage, influence research, and development to encompass protection, cultivation, propagation, and conservation of medicinal plants and contribute to poverty alleviation through the creation of employment and enhancing household incomes among other benefits.
While presenting the report, Health committee chairperson Michael Bukenya (Bukuya County) recommended the need for composition of the council that will be supervised by the minister to regulate the activities of the traditional herbalists or administration of traditional medicine.
As per the committee recommendations, the House also agreed that practitioners of traditional & complementary medicine should desist from using the title of 'doctor' or 'nurse' without the pre-requisite qualification as will be determined by the Council.
“Traditional medicine is an international trade; we just need to professionally supervise our herbalists because these medicines are simple, with fewer side effects and available than the other conventional medicines,” Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality) said.
The new law will also require that all persons intending to practice traditional and complementary medicine to undergo the required training and the Council in consultation with the Minister shall determine the course that different practitioners should train in. And upon conclusion of training, a certificate of proficiency should be issued to enable the trainees to register tor the relevant practice with the Council.
It should be remembered during the stakeholders meeting, all practitioners of traditional medicine were uncomfortable with the proposed clause which provides that the applicant must have adequate proficiency in the practice of Traditional medicine.
The practitioners of traditional medicine will also not be required to advertise their practice, “except where the contents of their adverts have been authenticated and authorised by the council be included.”