Herbalists Support Ban on Fake Adverts

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In short
Sophia Namutebi Alias Mama Fina, a popular traditional practitioner, says Parliament must reconsider certain provisions of the Bill, particularly on training and certificates of proficiency for practitioners.

Practitioners of traditional and complementary medicine have commended parliament for banning advertisement of fake concoctions and misleading information to the public. The ban is part of the Traditional and Complementary Medicines Bill, 2015 that was approved by parliament early this week.
 
 
The Bill creates a Council to regulate the sector and enforce it including approving adverts. The Bill prohibits Practitioners of traditional and complementary medicine from advertising their practice except where the contents of their adverts have been authenticated and authorized by the Council. 


While discussing the bill, several legislators, noted with concern that the general public has been subjected to false adverts and malpractices by fake practitioners. Dr. Joseph Baguma, the Executive Director Theta Uganda, supports the ban on unregulated advertisements and misinformation by the practitioners. 

 
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Karim Musaasizi, the Secretary General of National Council for Traditional Healers and Herbalists Association agrees. He says the Bill will streamline existing laws and policies as well as recognize the importance of tradition medicine alongside manufactured medicines. 
 
 
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He is however, opposed to the provision in the bill requiring practitioners to undergo training and acquire certificates. The Bill states the council will issue licenses, regulate, determine training courses and qualifications for practitioners as well as inspect herbal medicines for sale among other functions. 

 
The council will comprise two representatives of traditional medical practitioners, two complementary medical practitioners, a representative from National Drug Authority, representatives from the health ministry and the director for research from National Chemotherapeutic Research Institute.  

 
Musaasizi adds that since the Bill aims at integrating traditional medicine into the national health care system and strengthening collaboration between modern medicines, traditional and Complementary medicines, there should be balance. 
 

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But Dr. Joseph Baguma, the Executive Director Theta Uganda, says the bill is timely in setting minimum standards for practitioners and will weed out illegal organizations.
 

 
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But Sophia Namutebi Alias Mama Fina, a popular traditional practitioner, says Parliament must reconsider certain provisions of the Bill, particularly on training and certificates of proficiency for practitioners. 
 

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 She says the Bill will however curb misinformation.

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The Health committee in its report on the Bill stated that it met and received submissions from 17 stakeholders including Uganda Communications Commission, Uganda Law Society, Theta Uganda, National Council of Traditional Healers Associations, Uganda N'eddagala Lyayo (The National Traditional Healers and Herbalists Organization), Homeopathic Society of Uganda and Makerere University College of Health Sciences among others.
 
Parliament considered the committee report and recommendations and passed the Indigenous and Complementary Medicine Bill, 2015 with several amendments including its title.