A set of women in Kisumu have been secretly treating measles using marijuana (bhang), the Sunday Standard has discovered.
The ‘doctors’ who operate from their houses in Manyatta, Kondele and Lolwe, have been receiving steady flow of parents taking their children for the rare form of ‘drug’ whose use was banned by the government.
The Sunday Standard team watched in disbelief as a middle-aged woman used the weed to treat a two-year- old girl who has measles.
Seated at a balcony of her house at Lolwe Estate, Joyce (not her real name) took us through the treatment process but after cautioning us against revealing her identity for safety reasons.
“This thing is effective in treating measles. To some people, it is a bad drug. To those who know its medicinal value, it’s Godsent,” she says.
After that little convincing, she starts her art.
She takes the dried leaf and grinds it into a powder. She scoops the powder into her cupped palms. Like a pro smoker, she rolls the powder into a paper to make it look like a cigarette. She then lights it with a match box, puts the stick into her mouth, puffs it and blows the smoke into the ears and face of the toddler.
“She has measles and this is one of the best medicines for it,” she says with confidence.
“She will be fine in just a few hours”, she says proudly.
A strong smell of the weed, feels the room.
‘No mzee is not aware’
The team got wind of the Kisumu’s “bhang doctors” following a tip off, two weeks before researcher and political activist Gwada Ogot appeared before a Senate Committee to push for legalisation of bhang.
Mr Ogot says marijuana has many immense medicinal value and should no longer be classified as a narcotic drug.
When he appeared before the Senate to seek decriminalisation of marijuana, Gwada said countries such as Germany, Israel and the Philippines have already legalised its use and it was time Kenya followed suit.
The Government has been cracking hard on growers, peddlers and smokers of the drug.
Joyce told the Saturday Standard that she was introduced to the weed by a friend called Ruth.
“My daughter came from school and had fever and some rashes, which my friends confirmed that she had measles...”
Ruth suggested to her that bhang could treat her daughter. At first, Joyce was apprehensive, but seeing how her daughter was suffering she gave it a try.
Joyce next headache was to look for someone who knew where they are sold or planted.
She sent some street children to get her the leaves and seeds.
“It cost me Sh500 to get the weed delivered from a peddlers. The ‘Chokora” (street children) who I sent to get the weed, took Sh150. The bhang cost Sh100 and the remainder was service charge,” she says.
Other than blowing the smoke from the weed into the ears of the sick child, the women also make a liquid dose out of it.
Two spoonfuls a day
“The dose is two spoonfuls per day for three days. The treatment is effective,” she explains.
And the women believe in this thing.
“The medicine works. The bhang will ensure that all the body agents that causes measles are killed. The bhangparticles goes deep into the layers of the skin and removes the disease causing agents,” Ruth says.
Interestingly, Joyce says her husband is not aware of her new found medicinal therapy.
“I did not want to tell my husband because he would have an issue with it.”
Both Joyce and Ruth confess that their first experience with the bhang was sickening.
“I felt like my chest was being consumed by fire. I had to drink a lot of water. I also head some headache and felt dizzy,” Joyce says.