“Those who are recovering are tipping off their colleagues and so the number of patients keeps increasing and the demand is high,” Ojara told Uganda Radio Network in an interview.
Traditional healers and local herbalists in Gulu are hardly getting anytime to rest as more Covid-19 patients in Gulu are turning to
traditional medicine for treatment amidst stock out of drugs as the infections
escalate in the district.
There are at least 397 patients in Gulu City are on home based care and 93 from Gulu District, with 2,943 cumulative cases including 63 deaths having been
As the infections surge in the District, the demand
for treatment has scaled up which has led to stock out of drugs.
Sections of the patients who spoke to Uganda Radio Network
have decried the challenges they face under home-based care with scarcity of drugs
in the area.
Evelyn Akello, a resident of Kanyagoga Cell in Bardege-Layibi
Division is among the patients battling the infection under home based care.
Akello revealed that nine of her other family members who equally
tested positive for the virus have failed to stay on treatment prescribed as
they have run out of stock from the health facilities and pharmacies.
She however explained that with the worrying conditions, they
turned to traditional herbalists for treatment.
“We had informed the medical team from Gulu Regional
Referral Hospital about our conditions in vain, but we felt we could try other
means” Akello added.
Richard Anywar, another patient who also tested positive
says he had taken three days on treatment with herbal medicine after he failed
to get the prescribed medicines from the medical team.
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Alfred Ojara, one of the traditional herbalists in Gulu has
acknowledged receiving a number of the Covid patients in the past few days.
Ojara claimed to have managed 20 patients who sought
treatment at his herbal clinic adding that the numbers are increasing.
“Those who are recovering are tipping their colleagues and
so the number of patients keeps increasing and the demand is high” Ojara told
Uganda Radio Network in an interview.
Ojara further claimed that he had submitted samples of his
herbal medicines to the authorities in Kampala for clinical trial waited
for the confirmation in vain.
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However, Dr. Veronica Alice Lamwaka, a Lecturer at Gulu
University in the Faculty of Medicine and Bio Technology also claimed to have
submitted over 70 samples for clinical trial.
She revealed that some of the medicines have ordinarily
treated patients with fever; cough and other heart related complications, the
condition she says have no difference with those from Coronavirus.
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Bishop Loum, the regional coordinator Covid-19 risk communications
and surveillance in Acholi says the overwhelming demand for drugs have forced
patients to look for them from private pharmacies.
Meanwhile, William Onyai, the Gulu District Health Educator have
warned people of defaulting form home based care, something he says is contributing to the surge of the infections in the District.
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However, Alfred Okwonga, the Gulu City Council Mayor have expressed
fear over the rising cases of the infections and blames the resurgence on home
“The management of patients from home is failing and we are
looking forward to creating isolation and treatment Centre if we are to reduce on
the infections in the City” Okwonga explained.
In an earlier interview, Emmanuel Anniyboiona, the
Senior Public Relations Officer for Ministry of Health says there is need to
study on the effectiveness of herbal medicine for treatment of diseases.
With the growing numbers of the infections, several of the
non-governmental organizations in Northern Uganda have asked the government to
recognize herbal medicine in treatment of the covid-19 patients.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) are already
pushing for COVID-19 traditional medicine research
The agencies have formed a 25-member expert advisory panel to provide
scientific advice and support to countries on the safety, efficacy and quality
of traditional medicine for fighting COVID-19.
The panel, selected from Central,
Eastern, Southern and West African countries will coordinate support to African
countries to collaborate in undertaking clinical trials with a focus on
traditional medicine-based therapies.
Traditional medicine, according to a study
is the health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs combining plant,
animal and mineral-based medicines applied singularly or in combination to
treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being.
It also includes spiritual
therapies, manual techniques and exercises.