Rukararwe herbal medicine Centre

Promote Traditional Medicine

In Uganda, 80 % of the rural population relies on traditional medicine for healthcare, alone or in addition to modern medicine. Indigenous knowledge associated with this practice has been handed down through generations.

However, most medicinal plants needed to develop traditional health are not cultivated but harvested in the wild. Encroaching pressures coupled with inappropriate agricultural and pastoral land uses contribute to tree density reduction, and woody medicinal in particular.

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As trees are disappearing from inhabited areas, some remedies/knowledge are being continuingly lost. Moreover, indigenous knowledge on medicinal plants is fragile and not well appreciated. Colonial laws, such as the 1967 Witchcraft Act still have not been amended and stigmatize traditional healers and their practices.

In addition, the urbanisation of the South West of the country encourage the youth to find jobs in towns, much more attractive in term of income (which is not always true). There is a certain disinterest observed among the youths, which does not find advantages from the traditional medicine. In many cases, the knowlegde is not delivered from one generation to another, and perish with the elders.

There is thus a growing need to promote traditional medicine, which is still playing a key role in the healthcare status of the inhabitants. Reinvolving the youths, modernizing the remedies and boosting the production are the main challenge of the RPWRD, in order to alleviate poor health condition which is still occur nearby the project area.

Infrastructure for traditional practises in Rukararwe

The RPWRD has assisted African Traditional Health Practitioners (ATHP) to regroup and organize a Primary Health Care Centre in Rukararwe that has greatly contributed to improve standards of living for rural grass-root communities. They have established a herbal garden for research purposes, and initiated a processing unit for herbal remedies. Moreover, an outpatient clinic has been operative since two decades now and it uses both western and traditional methods of diagnosis.

Efforts to fight Malaria flail

For many decades, it has generally believed that only Western medicine can treat malaria effectively, and there has not been enough research to investigate whether african traditional medicine could have a possible solution. During the recent past, however, malaria parasites have increasingly developed resistance against traditional cures developed by Western medicine, and this has posed a lot of unanswered questions, especially within countries where malaria is predominant.

Although many diseases can be treated at Rukararwe’s clinic, African Health Practitioners have concentrated much more on providing an alternative remedy against malaria. This is a logical step, because malaria claims 30% of the death toll in the country per year, mainly young children, expectant mothers, and, of recent, it has had a devastating effect on the country’s Health system because of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Since RPWRD started promoting traditional healing 20 years ago, it has been observed that the national health care system has, for many years, overlooked the important role that traditional healing plays. We realized that a lot of malaria patients receive effective treatment from african traditional practitioners, and as a matter of fact, it is common to find that there are many antis – malaria recipes in different villages.

In 1996, a team of Traditional practitioners from RPWRD collaborated with a Makerere University academic and established that a mixture of three herbal remedies (which are locally available) heals effectively malaria. Their findings have been published in an English medical journal “The Tropical Doctor” Vol. 27 of 1997. A team led by Dr. Merlin Wilcox in 1999 confirmed similar findings and published in a memo that was circulated within the Dept. of Infectious Diseases, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, (UK).

Traditional Remedies Available in Rukararwe

Since generations, traditional healers a relying on numerous types of traditional remedies. Rukararwe and its healers association are providing to local communities about 30 different categories of medecine. They could be in form of fine powder, dried leaves, ointment, solution, and sirop. Further development will allow to provide capsules, soap…
Those Herbal remedies are used to cure more than 20 different diseases, including:



          Condition                  Cure



Malaria   Yes             Worms Yes  
Kidney problems   Yes             Diarrhoea Yes  
Ulcers   Yes             Rheumatisms Yes  
Blood Pressure   Yes            Allergies Yes  
Skin infections   Yes            Diabetes Yes  
Fungal infections   Yes            Syphilis Yes  
Sexual weakness  Yes            Flue Yes  
Urinary infections  Yes            Coughs Yes  
Menstrual pains  Yes  

Bushenyi Medical and Traditional Healers Association

Bushenyi MedicalThe project established an association of traditional and western-trained healers since 1988. Currently, the association is composed of 75 healers. It operates a clinic (and a laboratory) on a daily basis were herbal remedies are administered to patients previously diagnosed.

The cooperation between modern doctors and traditional healers increase the modern doctor’s knowledge of the effectiveness of traditional cures but has also help to alleviate some of the mutual distrust between the practitians of the two different kinds of medicine.

Different medical tests can be handled in Rukararwe:
Malaria parasite test
Tuberculosis test
Intestinal parasite test
Blood sugar test
Urine test
The association holds seminars which include traditional birth attendance, simple methods of hygiene, preservation dissemination and recording of herbal medicine, prevention of killer diseases like malaria, diarrhea, AIDS and other STD’s. Important medicines that cure worms, diarrhea, malaria, gonorrhea, and various skin diseases have been established and recorded.

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