In Arubaine, a remote village in Busia, locals have shunned visiting health facilities and instead drink camel urine to treat a variety of ailments.
The villagers claim the animal's waste, including its dung, can treat cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, among others.
According to the locals in the eastern Uganda village, the camels feed on rare tree species that have "bitter substances", which are medicinal.
The camel's dung is used as a balm to treat skin diseases, while the fat, which is extracted from the meat, is used as a cure for measles.
This has made camel waste and products a treasure in the area. Men, women and children line up and wait patiently for hours for the camels to urinate so that they can tap the waste.
A litre of the urine costs Ush25,000 (Sh700), while a 300ml bottles goes for Ush8,000 (Sh225). Camel fat sells at between Ush20,000 (Sh560) and Sh150,000 (Sh4,200) depending on the quantity.
Mr Jaberi Kalifani Kanga, who administers the camel products, says his patients have recovered from several diseases after a few doses.
“I have for some time been using camel urine, fat and dung to treat patients who are diagnosed with cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, measles and those with skin diseases and many come back testifying that they have regained their health,” Mr Kanga told Daily Monitor at the weekend.
He said to ensure that the products are safe, he roasts the dung before crashing it in order to kill bacteria. For the urine, he mixes it with ginger.
Ms Masitula Nantume, another resident, said: “I have been extracting oil from camel meat for some time and using it to treat measles and diabetes, among other diseases.”
Mr Ali Mukaaza said his mother, who had been bedridden with diabetes, recovered after she was introduced to the camel urine treatment.
Monitor, could not however independently verify if the said patients got cured.
Mr Emmery Mbaha, a public health expert, however, noted that camel dung may contain dangerous bacteria which cause tetanus if smeared on open wounds.
“I would not recommend humans using camel urine and dung because they risk exposure to so many diseases,” Mr Mbaha warned.
Mr Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the public relations officer at the Ministry of Health, said: “What the residents are doing is risky because before they conclude that the camel products heal diseases, there must be a scientific study.”
According to laboratory studies by King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, camel milk and urine, which has been used for decades in the Middle East, have been found to have therapeutic benefits.
Dr Christopher Kato of Dabani hospital in Kampala acknowledges that the practice of using camel products to treat diseases is common in the Arab world.
He, however, said: “There should be clinical research on this products to establish their curative properties and the dosage, otherwise patients, who use these type of treatment risk serious health complications.”
He explained that in 2015, in the Arabian peninsular, there was an outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in communities that used camel products.
The World Health Organisation warns against consuming camel urine or raw camel milk due to MERS, a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
The coronavirus is found in dromedary camels.