Traditional Bone Setters credit x-ray in treatment

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A Traditional Bone Setter demonstrates their work during a learning session at Kikuube primary school in Kikuube District. (Photo: Kazi-njema News)

Traditional Bone Setters (TBSs) in Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom have credited x-ray imaging services offered in modern treatment saying that they ease their work traditionally done on guesswork.

Speaking at a one-week training workshop on general health issues with a focus on bones at Kikuube Health Centre 4 in Kikuube District, Mr Abdul Rashid Mugisa, a TBS from Bugambe sub-county disclosed that traditional bone setters find trouble handling patients who do not present x-ray images.

He said that to overcome such a challenge, he has now resorted to advising patients to take x-ray images before he proceeds with his traditional orthopedic work to avoid bothering to handle complications beyond his capacity.

Mr Mugisa added that he is very confident with his mode of treatment and herbs. He said he is more assertive while working with a view of the x-ray image.

However, he said that it has in most cases been difficult to achieve that since most of his patients are poor and cannot afford transport and meeting the charges for x-ray imaging at health facilities.

“We in most cases intervene to help the community members on humanitarian grounds. The government hospital is very far, x-ray services are much far away and the patient has no money. We come to help,” said Mr Mugisa.

He appealed to the government and its stakeholders to consider organising as many engagements as possible between TBSs and orthopedic doctors with intent to share knowledge and improve services to the population.

Audio: Mugisa on bones (Runyoro/Rutooro)
Traditional Bone Setters in a teaching session at Kikuube primary school classroom. (Photo: Kazi-njema News)

During the training organised with support from World Vision-a non government organisation, Dr Paddy Tinkasiimire, a Medical Orthopedic Officer at Buliisa General Hospital in Buliisa district said that some TBSs have caused permanent bone damage as they struggle to get money through treating complicated cases without considering the need for referral to medical doctors.

According to him, the main objective of the training was to equip TBSs with appropriate skills and implored them to appreciate the importance of referral systems in all forms of treatment and their relationships.

He added that more skills are needed now than before in Bunyoro sub-region due to the increasing cases of accidents on polished roads and the number of vehicles on the road.

Audio: Tinkasiimire on bones (English)

Mr Robert Mugabe, one of the facilitators emphasised treatment of babies born with bone deformities saying they are very delicate to handle and need highly skilled persons to save them.

He called upon Village Health Team (VHT) members and leaders to always advise community members to refer babies and other complicated fractures immediately to the nearest health centres instead of keeping them with some TBSs who may not care about the future consequences.

Some of the beneficiaries including Ms Teddy Akugizibwe from Busisi Ward in Hoima City appreciated the training saying she had learnt a lot especially on the delicacy of babies born with born complications.

According to her, she has also gained understanding of the causes of bone problems among babies right from the womb to the time of birth which include lack of enough skills on the side of the midwife.

Audio: Beneficiaries on acquired bone skills (Runyoro/Rutooro)

TBSs are credible and much distributed in Bunyoro communities making them accessible and cheap to offer the services and sometimes free of charge.

Unfortunately, most of them have never been exposed to use the medical technologies to improve their work.

Hajji Burhan Kyakuhaire, the Special Assistant on cultural affairs in Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom says that TBSs have mot progressed because they feel insecure as some members of modern society regard them to be witches and illegal.

He implored them to develop a desire to progress and feel free to refer patients to government hospitals instead of clinging on them, hence, causing more complications including cancer and permanent disabilities.

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