Benson Oloya, a doctor changing mind-set about medicinal plants

In his study, Dr Oloya Out of the local herbs found nine compounds active on tuberculosis bacteria and also discovered two new organic compounds that he was given privilege to name

Dr. Benson Oloya, A Doctor of philosophy (PhD) holder in chemistry and a lecturer at Muni University Arua, has advised religious leaders and believers across divide not to label herbs that are medicinal plants as evil.

He made the appeal during his thanksgiving ceremony at Mayors garden in Paidha Town Council, Zombo District on Saturday, May 5 2024. The event attracted hundreds of educationists, religious and political leaders, students amongst others.

 The first principle in medicine is to do no harm and safety is always a fundamental principle in the provision of any health-care treatment and procedures according to health experts.

Oloya who during his study discovered two new organic compounds not known before encouraged religious leaders and believers not to be discouraged from using local herbs for treatments of some complications emphasizing their importance in healing humanity.

He also warned witch doctors against taking ownership of herbs adding that the herbs were made by God to help humanity.

“Many times Christians have shied away from using herbs, I want to make some clarification that not all herbs are bad, God made some of these plants with therapeutic properties, so the witchdoctors are claiming what does not belong to them, God created certain plants with medicinal properties and we should accept that God created these plants to heal humanity.” Oloya explained thus eliciting applause from members of the public who gathered to witness the pompous celebration that started with prayers and a snaking queues of match on the streets of Paidha town council.  

In his study, Dr Oloya Out of the local herbs found nine compounds active on tuberculosis bacteria and also discovered two new organic compounds that he was given privilege to name.  

“In my research, I discovered two new organic compounds not known before, and I was given privilege to name them. I named one compound Adubangoamide, a name I derived from my late mother Zila Adubango and I named another compound as dranzoanol, derived from former and the late vice chancellor of Muni University professor Dranzoa Christine” Oloya explained.

Tuberculosis, a communicable disease is among the leading causes of illness worldwide. Before the onset of Coro virus (covid-19) pandemic, TB was the main cause of death resulting from a single infectious agent and was ranked above HIV/AIDS according to 2021 statistics published by World Health Organisation. 

What Ugandan law say about herbal medicine? 

The traditional and complementary medicine act 2019, doesn’t restrict the usage of herbal or complementary medicine but said “ A person shall not operate, own or use premises as a practitioner, producer, manufacturer, supplier or seller of traditional, herbal or complementary medicine unless that person is registered as a traditional or complementary medicine practitioner”

For centuries, traditional and complementary medicine has been an integral resource for health in households and communities globally with 170 countries reporting the use of traditional medicine according to 2023 report by world health organization.

Dr Benson Oloya whose education journey was riddled with myriads of stumbling blocks rose through the ranks breaking all odds to become a well-established researcher.

In his speech to the public, Oloya commended the Retired Archbishop of the church of Uganda Dr Henry Luke Orombi who accorded him scholarship to study twenty years ago, when actually his hope of proceeding with education was waning due financial challenges. He encouraged the learners to emulate his academic journey reverberating “my dear learners here, you can also make it like me “. He also encouraged parents to give necessary support to their children as they study.

Oloya who transcends into certified researcher now join the table of over 2000 PhDs holders in Uganda, most of whom are based at Makerere University.

The Woman MP of Nebbi Agnes Acibu was one of Dr. Benson Oloya‘s teachers at Erussi secondary school in Nebbi. She recounted the researcher’s humility and commitment towards achieving his goals. Acibu advised learners to emulate the life of Oloya to become successful in life.

Meanwhile the District education officer of Zombo Nickolas Odeba decried high level of school dropout rate in the district stressing the need for more mobilization and sensitization, to have more students complete higher level of education.

“If we can have our brothers and sisters like Ben coming, and celebrating with us this education achievements, I think it’s a motivation to the young ones in the school and I pray that they see this example and they move further” Odeba explained adding that amidst this “we have our own challenge of education within the district and we need more mobilization on that” 

Retired Arch bishop of the church of Uganda Dr. Henry Luke Orombi who was the main celebrant at the event rallied people in the region to support education of young ones in the region. Orombi called upon people to desist from negative ideologies that nothing good can come from the area.

Education background

Dr Oloya Started his academic journey at Zombo lower primary in the current Zombo town council before shifting to Kaya Primary school, and later Paidha demonstration school where he completed his primary seven.

He went to Erussi secondary school for his “0” level and St Aloysius college Nyapea for his “A” level 

He later went to Mbarara University for his undergraduate and masters and did his PhD from Makerere University. Despite attaining his PhD at Makerere, he did his laboratory work from the University of Wolfsburg in Germany out of a memorandum of understanding since he did not have the equipment from Makerere University. He did part of his work from Egerton University in Kenya where he met many friends. 

Reading from Dr. Oloya`s academic journey riddled with back-breaking experience, local leaders say his experience should serve as a great lesson to young ones that amidst challenges, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

A PhD is earned after a master’s degree and it honours’ one with the title of doctor. It takes more theoretical approach to learning new things with the research as the core basis.

Mike Rwothomio

8 Blog posts

Face Up 8 w

We need people like him, and we should give thanks to our ancestors for grooming such kind of leaders 😄