Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Traditional Medicine and Science, Uganda

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Science & Society, Culture, Nature of Science, History of Science 

Ed Hessler

Natural-products research scientist Grace Nambatya Kyeyune works at the Natural Chemotherapeutics Research Institute (NCRI), Ministry of Health in Kampala, Uganda. She also serves as its director of research. 
NCRI is charged with evaluating traditional medicines. A failed treatment using herbals motivated her to do an M. S. and a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry at Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK. During her graduate school studies and research she learned how to extract drugs from herbs and how they worked in humans.

The journal Nature's Christopher Bendana wrote a story about her which includes an interview. It was published January 20, 2023 and may be read at the journal's website.

Here are Bendana's questions. 

-- How did you first get interested in traditional medicine and using modern scientific methods to study them?

--How is the NCRI helping to ensure that these products are safe and effective?

--You did a lot of benchmarking in several countries. What did you learn that you want to incorporate into traditional medicine in Uganda?

--With funding for clinical trials lacking in many African countries, do you think it is more important to test new cancer drugs or other pharmaceuticals, or to run trials of traditional medicines that are commonly used and more affordable?

-- How will intellectual-property rights be dealt with considering that many of these medicines are based on traditional knowledge passed on from generation to generation?

These are some interesting questions, appear to include major issues and Dr. Kyeyune provides very thorough responses. I found of great interest how she made the decision to pursue her current career. How often one's life turn's on a small event, not the first or last time I will call attention to them.

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