The former Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Victoria Sekitoleko, wants a ministry created to oversee complementary and alternative medicine.

The ex-minister was on Monday, September 12 2022 making a presentation during a one-day capacity building workshop for Opposition Members of Parliament at the Parliament’s conference hall.

Sekitoleko, currently the chairperson of the governing board of the Uganda Agribusiness Alliance, presented a paper on the legal and policy framework that regulates the agro-industrialisation programme and appropriate interventions that would create an enabling environment.

She tasked the MPs to compel government to set up a ministry that will be in charge of the traditional and complementary saying that there was enormous potential in traditional medicine.

The Ministry of Health, Sekitoleko said, does not have the expertise and resources to lead research and development into traditional medicine.

She said that this could explain why ever since the President assented to Alternative and Complimentary Medicine Bill passed by Parliament, there has not been action from the ministry.

“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!”

She also said that as private sector, when the bill was passed, they were excited and wanted to meet the Ministry of Health but this has not been possible to date as there is no interest.

“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.

According to Sekitoleko, what several countries have done is to open up fully fledged ministries to oversee indigenous medicine. She said that Chinese medicine thrives because of their focus on indigenous medicine.

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.

Hon. 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 can also do that.

Hon. Veronica Nanyondo, the Woman MP Bukomansimbi district, said that since they sit on the Committee on Health, they will task the ministry to explain the progress on herbal medicine and also the marijuana business.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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