Bumetha Rukararwe: Integrating Modern and Traditional Health Care in Southwest Uganda
AbstractRukararwe-Bumetha in southwest Uganda is a community-based program which combines the services of traditional medical practitioners with modem medical services in providing sustainable rural health care. In five years, approximately 50,000 patients have been seen. The clinic is staffed by a trained nurse and a pharmaceutical technician, and visited by doctors from nearby Mbarara University Medical School, all of whom work with traditional herbalists in diagnosing, standardizing dosage and consistency of medicines, and dispensing herbal mixtures, many of which are cultivated in Rukararwe's medicinal plant garden. Conservation of medicinal plants and education are central to the integrated health care services at Bumetha. Community health education emphasizes hygiene and the appropriate use of local medicinal resources. Traditional health practitioners care for the emotional and spiritual, as well as the physical, well-being of their patients.