Saturday, July 28, 2012
As part of the MHIRT research team here in Pallisa, we have been able to gain a deeper insight on traditional medicine in this region. Talking to the people in the local communities we have discovered the unspoken rule to keep the use of traditional medicine secret. Some people on the other completely deny the existance of herbalists and witchdoctors which left us wondering whether this knowledge was just being kept away from us because we are “mzungus”. Regardless of their reasons, we had an amazing opportunity this week to witness a traditional healer perform one of her many procedures on a patient. The patient was a little girl who had been suffering from seizures. Doctors from the local hospital had tried to treat her but their efforts had been in vain. As a last resort the doctors referred her to this traditional healer when she was “almost dying”, as the traditional healer put it. The little girl's clothes were removed and the traditional healer took a razor, making small cuts on the girls scalp, arms, back, legs, neck and chest. Once the cuts were made the traditional healer took a grey powder and rubbed it into the cuts. When we asked her what the grey powder was she said that it was a special bird she had gotten from northern Uganda that had been burned and ground. The little girl seemed unaffected and calm. The traditional healer proceeded to tell us that the girl was much better than she had been when she was first brought. This experience was very eye opening, one of the many we have experienced here in Pallisa, Uganda.