Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Alternative Treatment

One of my neighbours’ was involved in a road traffic accident.

Lucky, she is alive, but had multiple breaks in bones of a leg. Nasty. So, she is taken to hospital, and has pins(?) or nails put in.

Now, there is a big debate outside.

Another neighbour is singing the healing powers of a traditional doctor. Apparently the guy has a big practice at Rubaga, and is well known. He talked about it before, apparently, the neighbour’s husband investigated. The traditional doctor informed them that, before treatment, he wanted the nails removed. Something which did not go down well with the lady in question.

But the other neighbour is really convinced that they are making a mistake. They should go see the traditional medic, and he should have his way, and that the fractures will heal faster. I don’t like the guy (other neighbour), he is a bully, and loudmouth and opinionated. Yet he makes me remember the available health options for people in Uganda.

Health care is expensive. Really, prohibitively expensive in Kampala. Yes, just had a sick person, my mother in law last year. But there are all the traditional options available. People believe in them, they are advertised on radio, and TV, and touted by the community. And they are cheaper.

Do they work?

I have to sincerely say that I do not know. Some of the things are plain sleight of the hand magics. But others are herbs and things like that. I have to say that I tend to ‘believe’ when I know how a thing works. So, I don’t believe in a magic. Big deal.

My lover believes in them. And I know most Ugandans believe in them. Is it the belief which makes them work? I don’t know.

Once, I was in hospital, and I listened in to a conversation.

A child had been brought in sick, a fever I think it was. While at the hospital, the child had a convulsion. The father immediately decided that this sickness was beyond ‘western’ medicine. He requested for discharge.

I listened as the doctor tried to change the parent’s mind. He did try, but it was like they were on different wavelengths. The doctor didn’t understand the parent’s concern, the parent couldn’t understand the doctor’s insistence. Ultimately, the parent took the child away.

Do alternative medicines work? At the moment, the problem is also being complicated by the Pentecostal pastors who are claiming miracle cures, even of HIV/AIDS.

Do they work? I don’t know.

I have listened to the discussion, today is the second day. I think they will take the neighbour’s wife to the traditional doctor. Me, I don’t know what advice to give. I simply don’t know all the pros and cons. And I would rather admit that than argue for or against one option.



Anonymous said...

If they work, there should be a proven - and repeatable -physiological effect that can be seen and measured. If it doesn't work every time, the factors that cause that need to be discovered. That would be the scientific approach.
I can understand trying herbal medicine - that can have active pharmaceutical ingredients that work together (in ways that are often too complicated and transient, in the living system, to measure with our current ability).

I'm not so sure about removing pins in a bone fracture or break. Those are simply there to hold everything together while it grows back together and bonds. Sometimes they stay in (easier than taking them out, or they will provide additional bracing).
Unfortunately some traditional healers are as arrogant and dismissive of other approaches as Western-trained medical staff can be!

Unless they have good reason to doubt the Western (hospital) approach - which is proven by experimental testing - I think they should stick by it in this (relatively simple) case.

Princess said...

A few of those herbal medicines do work.
But in this case???
She should at least contemplate the pain of removing said pins and go with the tried and true method i.e. forget trad. doc. and let time and nature heal.

Eh, but this woman! The trouble with HER leg is being debated on and being solved by neighbours?
What does SHE want?
Her choice, her decision is the paramount one.
And if SHE wants the trad. way, so be it!

gayuganda said...

Oh well, Anon,

that would be my considered opinion, but people believe in all sorts of things.

Princess, welcome to the real world, where husbands seek for advice from other men over the local brew, and debate the pros and cons of the medicine for the lady.

I am gay, and the neighbours most likely know it, but wouldnt stop me having a bigger say in what goes on in her life, because I am a man. Unfair? of course. But seems our world works that way!!

Last I heard, the lady had demurred. But I am afraid the village loudmouth is mounting a campaign...

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