Scholar’s Corner: Recent Scholarly Works in Global Health Law

Traditional Medicine: Oversight of Practitioners and Practices in Uganda

Hope Kyomugisha

April 2, 2008

Abstract:     

Traditional medicine, also known as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), has been defined as “health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat, diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well-being.” It refers to practices based on beliefs, knowledge and skills recognized by traditional communities to provide healthcare through the use of herbs and other naturally occurring substances.

This paper discusses traditional medicine in Uganda. It looks at different categories of Uganda’s traditional healers and examines laws and policies regulating their practices. The paper points out that there is no legal framework in place to regulate traditional medicine in Uganda and, therefore, argues for a regulatory policy framework to regulate these practices. It examines the advantages and disadvantages of regulation and proposes regulatory policy prescriptions. The paper draws on examples of the regulation of traditional medicinal practice in Canada, South Africa, and China to inform the recommendations that are made regarding how Uganda could create national oversight for the activities of its traditional medicinal practitioners, and how a system of supervision of those activities could be effectively enforced.

Available at SSRN.

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