Our Collaborating Partners
A number of national and international organizations are promoting TM and its practice in Uganda as described below:
Traditional and Modern Health Practitioners Together against AIDS (THETA) and other diseases– it contributes towards improved health care and health promotion in partnership with traditional healing systems, biomedicine and the larger community. THETA is also involved in bridging the gap between traditional and conventional health workers. It has also been increasing access to STD/AIDS prevention; care and support to all Ugandans by mobilizing THPs to provide basic prevention, care and support services through viable partnerships between THPs and Bio-medical health workers.
Rukararwe Partnership Workshop for Rural Development (RPWRD) – based in Bushenyi district, has been in the last two decades encouraged the use of available raw natural resource materials and know-how in improving the conditions of grassroot communities. They have managed to share experiences in agroforestry and build local capacity in the conservation and domestication of endangered woody medicinal plant species.
There are also a number of associations involved in promoting traditional medicine. These include; Uganda National Integrated Forum for Traditional Healers, Uganda Herbalist and Cultural Association, National Council for Traditional Healers Association, Uganda Neddagala Lyaayo, MAKO Herbalist Association and many others in the different parts of the country. These associations collaborate with government institutions in promoting TM, training and research and development of traditional medicine.
There is also an increase in the number of private sector organizations involved in promoting herbal medicine in the country. These organizations process and market various products mainly herbal tonics, food supplements and cosmetics. The proliferation of these products on the market suggests that the public interest in traditional medicine is growing at a faster rate. What is lacking however is a policy and regulations to regulate the sector. The National Drug Authority Act of 1993 is the only legal instrument currently being used to regulate traditional medicine practice in the country.
World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the international organizations that has greatly championed the promotion of TM in Africa. In view of the importance of TM, the WHO Regional Committee for Africa, at its 50th session (RC50) held in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso on 31 August 2000 adopted a strategy for promoting the role of Traditional Medicine in Health Systems. This was complemented by a launch of WHO’s first Global Strategy on traditional medicine. The WHO Director General in 2002 approved the institution of an African Traditional Medicine Day to be observed in all countries in the WHO African Region on the 31st August of each year. Since 2003, Uganda through NCRL has been celebrating this African Traditional Medicine Day under different themes in order to promote TM sector in the country.
The WHO has also been promoting traditional medicine research in the areas of quality, safety and efficacy. A number of guidelines along these areas have been formulated. They also support countries to develop policies and regulations for the promotion and development of TM. Uganda is one of the countries that has greatly benefited out of this support.
Similarly, the WHO Algiers declarationof June 2008 committed countries in the African region to work together to strengthen national health research, information and knowledge systems through the optimization of investments, better coordination and enhanced management in order to improve the health of the people of Africa
International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is involved in strengthening and mobilizing indigenous research capacities in the area of natural products and traditional medicine. Since 1994 to 2004, IDRC has been supporting projects of medicinal plants and Biodiversity (Phase 1 and 2 at NCRL). The outputs of this project included conservation of medicinal plants and NCRL and construction of community centers for traditional medicine in the districts of Iganga, Kabale, Luweero and Lira. Between 2004 and 2007, IDRC has also been supporting a project on Network on Medicinal Plants and Traditional Medicine. This project offered all stakeholders in TM to share information and experience on their respective activities, harmonize their research approaches and methodologies to promote the conservation and sustainable safe and effective use of medicinal plants and herbal products as well as integration of TM in public health facilities.
The Natural Products Research Network for East and Central Africa (NAPRECA) has also been involved in the promotion and development of science of natural products. Uganda is a member of this network and it has been participating in many fora organized by NAPRECA.
Prometra Uganda, an affiliate of Prometra International NGO dedicated to the preservation and restoration of African Traditional Medicine and Indigenous Science.
The International Institute of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (IIACM) is also one of the organizations involved in conservation, formulation and processing of herbal medicines and training in local and foreign traditional healing methods such as Chinese Acupuncture and Indian Yoga.
Other organizations like Concern International Uganda, ACFODE, ECOTRUST, Nature Uganda, IUCN, UNESCO, UNDP, etc are also involved in promoting and developing Traditional Medicine including sensitization, conservation, processing and many others.
In addition to the above, NCRL also collaborates with several partners in the implementation of most of its activities. These include; traditional healers, research institutions, civil society organizations, other government institutions /departments, private companies, donors and the general public. Areas of collaboration include research, training, policy formulation, information sharing and dissemination, value addition, product development and funding.
NCRL is also a member of the African Laboratory for Natural Products (ALNAP) with headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Through this collaboration, NCRL can access small and large equipments, publish research and also get training.