19 September 2022 at 12:00:00
Former Agriculture Minister Victoria Sekitoleko says the Health Ministry has the wrong mindset to take advantage of opportunities in traditional and complementary medicines, including cannabis.
Uganda’s former Agriculture Minister has called on opposition parties to campaign for a Ministry for Traditional Medicine.
Victoria Sekitoleko, who is currently chairperson of the Uganda Agribusiness Alliance, told a Parliamentary workshop that there was huge potential in traditional or indigenous medicines, including cannabis, but that this was being undermined by the Ministry of Health.
Sekitoleko was speaking at a one-day capacity building workshop for opposition MP’s in Kampala on 12 September 2022, Sekitoleko said the Ministry had rebuffed private sector initiatives to meet to discuss alternative medicines because this was outside its mindset.
She said because the Ministry did not not have the expertise and resources to lead research and development into traditional medicine, a new Ministry should be formed to champion this.
She said there had been no action from the Ministry since the President assented to Alternative and Complimentary Medicine Bill which had been passed by Parliament.
“The bill was dead on arrival; when you passed it and put it under the Ministry of Health, what did you expect? When you go to the Ministry of Health and you mention the word herbal, they do not take interest in what you are saying!”
Bukomansimbi district MP Veronica Nanyondo who sits on the Committee on Health, said she would get the Ministry to explain the progress on herbal medicine and also the cannabis business.
Sekitoleko said that the private sector had been excited when the Bill was passed.
“We wanted a meeting of those who deal in indigenous medicine convened so that the ministry can explain to them - but we were told this is not a priority,” she said.
She tasked the MPs to compel government to set up a ministry that will be in charge of traditional and complementary medicines saying that there was enormous potential in this field.
She called on MPs to take stock of what happened to the laws that have been passed and also tasked them to follow up on the investment into marijuana (cannabis) growing saying this industry is making countries rich.
Santa Okot, the Aruu North MP said that in Uganda, there still needs to be mindset change in regards to use of indigenous medicine.
“We do not believe in ourselves and we do not believe in our products and that is what bogs us down. If you look at Chinese medicine, it is more preferred than modern medicine,” she said.
She said that in the USA for instance, people get marijuana as a prescription, and yet Uganda could also do that.