Herbalists form national network

KIGALI - Practitioners of traditional medicine from across the country, yesterday, met in Kigali to establish a forum that will protect their rights and regulate the profession.
Emmanuel Rekeraho speaks to fellow traditional healers during their meeting yesterday. (Photo J Mbanda)
Emmanuel Rekeraho speaks to fellow traditional healers during their meeting yesterday. (Photo J Mbanda)

KIGALI - Practitioners of traditional medicine from across the country, yesterday, met in Kigali to establish a forum that will protect their rights and regulate the profession.

Herbalists currently operate without clear guidelines, although the Ministry of Health, says that it has prepared a document that spells out the ethics for the practice of traditional medicine, guidelines for quality assurance and assessment, good agriculture practice and guidelines for research.

Addressing traditional healers, Patrick Mwesigye the head of Pharmaceutical Services in the ministry, hailed the contribution of the practitioners to the health sector in the country.

“The creation of a network will ease the regulation of traditional healers and it will serve as a forum for them to share knowledge and skills,” Mwesigye said.

The Pharmaceutical Service Unit in the Ministry of Health also oversees business related to traditional healing.
Mwesigye urged them to respect their profession and operate in cooperatives where they can be supported.
He urged them to be on the lookout for imposters.

“There are people who practice witchcraft and claim they are traditional healers you need to stand up against these people. Also, you need to admit that there are some diseases that you can treat and those you cannot,” Mwesigye told the herbalists.

Emmanuel Rekeraho, the head of the newly formed network said that their main objective is to equip the herbalists with the necessary skills and ensure that they operate in a regulated manner.

“We want to modernise the practice within the rules of hygiene, eliminate the negative prejudgement of traditional medicine, create a permanent framework for consultations, and maintain a sustainable partnership with government institutions,” Rukeraho said.

One of the traditional healers from Burera District, Ildephonse Dusengimana said that the setting up of the network will mainly help him acquire new skills.

“Normally traditional healers’ skills do not develop because they don’t have anyone or anywhere to upgrade their skills from, this is an opportunity for us to develop,” Dusengimana said.

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