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Uganda cleric urges people to believe in science


(BBC) A prominent Christian cleric in Uganda has warned that extreme faith can sometimes lead to mistakes, and has urged religious leaders to believe in science.

Reverend Daniel Tokens Wejuli’s comments came as Uganda grapples with an Ebola outbreak which has so far claimed 19 lives, including one in the capital, Kampala.

In the latest measure to curb the spread of the disease, President Yoweri Museveni ordered traditional healers and herbalists not to treat people who have Ebola-like symptoms.

In Uganda even highly religious people visit their traditional healers. For many, the two health systems back each other up – if one doesn’t work, the other might.

The reverend, who is in charge of Spirituality and Mindset Change at the Inter-religious Council of Uganda, told the BBC he agreed with Mr Museveni’s directive.

“Cultural and religious practices can spread the disease – for instance, touching or mixing with people who are infected.

“You can pray for someone from a distance, or even remotely using technology. Religious leaders have a responsibility to protect their flock,” he added.

Hajjat Aisha Rashid Lukwago, who runs Corporate Herbalist, one of the biggest herbal care establishments in the country, said she would comply with the directive.

“With herbal medicine there are things you cannot handle. We do not have enough research on Ebola and therefore can’t offer any solutions,” she told the BBC.

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