The Member of Parliament for Kabale Municipality, Hon. Dr. Nicholas Thaddaeus Kamara, has raised concerns about the alleged medicinal use of Khat and Marijuana, arguing that they are more likely to lead to substance abuse than serve medicinal purposes.
MP Kamara made these remarks over the weekend during a donation event at Rugarama Hospital in Kabale Municipality.
In an interview with our reporter following the donation, Dr. Kamara emphasized that, as a member of the health committee, they have vigorously opposed those who seek to promote the cultivation of Khat.
Kamara questioned whether any healthcare worker could identify the specific medical conditions that Khat is claimed to treat.
“What medical conditions does Khat address? Even if you ask those who cultivate it, none can provide a clear answer regarding its medicinal properties. People often claim that Khat is pleasant and has medicinal value, but what diseases does it actually cure?” Kamara asked.
He explained that the health committee, of which he is a member, invited officials from Butabika Government Prisons, who reported a significant increase in the number of individuals with substance abuse issues.
Furthermore, he revealed that they had conducted oversight visits to mental health units in hospitals in Eastern Uganda and discovered that a majority of patients under the age of 30 were primarily admitted due to issues related to alcohol and Khat consumption. Kamara expressed concern that some individuals are pushing for the official recognition of Khat as a crop for cultivation.
He pointed out that countries that have legalized Khat have experienced a 20-fold increase in mental health cases, with only a minimal percentage of Khat being used for legitimate medicinal purposes.
Kamara argued that the introduction of an Alcohol Bill by the government is necessary to regulate alcohol consumption, particularly in Kigezi, where many individuals arrive at work already intoxicated.
The MP for Kabale Municipality also noted that in countries like Kenya, there are restrictions on alcohol consumption, such as not allowing alcohol consumption before 7 pm or the opening of bars before that time.