Government to finance incubation centres for traditional medicine
By Patience Ahimbisibwe
The government has said it will finance creation of incubation centres that transform scientific researches in traditional medicine into commercial products to transform the economy.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Information and Communications Technology minister while opening a two-day International conference on ICT for Africa in Kampala said the National Drug Authority has developed guidelines for regulation of herbal medicine products and encouraged stakeholders to utilize ICT to build the capacity in enhancing industrialization of herbal medicine.
“There is a lot of potential of ICT in industrialisation and commercialisation of herbal medicine. Uganda is rich in medicinal plants. Government will finance incubation centres that transform research in traditional medicine into commercial products,” he told participants. However, he didn’t say how much money is to be allocated for this cause.
Dr Ruhakana added that the government through the Uganda National Council of Science and Technology will formulate a policy on indigenous knowledge to protect the intellectual property of scientists and traditional health practitioners, who are custodians of indigenous knowledge.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 80 per cent of the population in developing countries continue to use traditional medicine to meet their healthcare need especially in rural areas because it is not only available but affordable.
The symposium was organized by Makerere University Business School under a theme “Africa’s E-inclusion: Defying the odds and leading the way in Global ICT Innovation.” The school’s Principal, Prof Wasswa Balunywa said if government popularizes the use of ICT, it will reduce on the country’s challenges in accessing health services.
“Our country has challenges. Many people don’t have money to buy drugs and many areas are not accessible. But we have traditional medicine which we know works but these official doctors from our institutions won’t give them to you for use because of the system of education.
Through ICT, we shall know what has worked elsewhere and apply it here,” Prof Balunywa said.In his speech, read to the participants by Dr Ruhakana, President Museveni said the Ministry of Education will consider developing courses in traditional medicine as a way of supporting institutions like Mbarara of Science and Technology and Makerere University