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Experts want medical dosage in local dialects

Kenya and other African countries should adopt cultural approaches to combating diseases, health experts have said.

Speaking at the Fifth Africa Governance, Leadership and Management Convention in Kwale County, the experts called for the translation of medical prescription and medicine dosage to native language to allow rural residents understand them.

“For community based health systems to be a success, the private sector and government should come together and translate medical information so that even the prescription is written in native languages,” said Dr Nicholas Letting, the Vice Chancellor of Management University of Africa.

Martine Kappel, the founder of True North Leadership, a governance consultancy, said the government should facilitate traditional medication. “Not all African tradition healers are bad. There are African medicines that assist in the fight against some diseases that should be encouraged,” said Kappel.

Mariam Were, the Chancellor of Moi University, said traditional medicine practitioners should come up with a code of conduct because “although there are good traditional healers, there are traditional medicine gorillas duping people with concoctions to make money.”

The experts said Kenya and most other African countries have not adopted a community based health services approach to combat outbreaks of infectious diseases and other epidemics like Cholera and Ebola.

For Africa to succeed in the fight against common diseases, Prof Were said, it should roll out community based health approach.

“Kenya is still at a very high risk if an infectious disease break outs. The government started to implement the community based health approach in 2008 but it did that to only those areas that had cholera outbreak,” she said.

The chancellor said local communities, and especially women, should be empowered with information and skills in case of a disease break out because they are the most vulnerable.

The health experts said outbreaks, like the recent cholera outbreak that hit more than seven counties, could be minimised if communities were to be equipped with information.

Ethiopia and Ghana were cited as the countries that have successfully implemented community health approach. “Ghana successfully dealt with the Ebola threat because its health system is perfect. It was able to deal with it because of the vibrant community based health system,” said Were.

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