African governments are planning to integrate traditional medicine practitioners in the treatment of psychiatric problems amongst people in their countries.
This has been revealed by the out-going President of the World Medical Association Prof. Dr. Margaret Mungherera, while officiating at the opening of a two–day Child and Adolescent Mental Health Conference at Silver Spring Hotel, Bugoloobi in Kampala.
According to research by the World Health Organization (WHO), over 80% of mental ill persons in Africa, visit traditional healers before they are referred to hospitals like Butabika.
Mungherera says, among the Post 2015 Priorities of the United Nations, African governments will need to recognize traditional healers, enroll them for higher education and put up new regulations to guide their practice.
“It’s becoming important that we integrate traditional healers into the national health care system,” said Mrs Mungherera at the Conference.
“About 82% of our mental patients rush to these traditional healers first before seeking other medical health services. We have got to integrate and accommodate them. They need to become health workers like us, because they are already providing health services.
In Uganda, Mrs Mungherera said the Ministry of Health was looking at a law that would regulate the traditional healers to ensure that they are registered, and get continuous training, so that the quality of the services they provide is in tandem what the ministry wants to see.
She also observed that mental illness is on the increase in Uganda especially among children and adolescents as result of increased misuse of drugs and illnesses like HIV/Aids.