Clovis Kabaseke lives and farms in the Fort Portal area of western Uganda, in the shadow of the Mountains of the Moon. He is the founder of the Botanical Gardens there and cultivates the ancient Artemisia herb in the hope that it will combat both the malaria and the poverty that blights his community.
“Artemisia is where I’m seeing the solution to the problems of my community because it can address the problems of poverty and at the same time can address the problems caused by malaria which is killer number one disease in this region,” Kabaseke says.
“Malaria is a disease for everybody, but it affects mostly the poor …. So they eventually die, mostly the pregnant women and the children below five years.”
A drug developed from the Artemisia plant is providing some hope in the battle against malaria, although how exactly it works is a matter of great debate.
Artemisia contains an active ingredient which appears to poison the malaria parasite, clearing it out of a patient’s bloodstream. The leaves are used to make Artemisia tea, which has proven to be a very effective treatment for malaria.
For Kabaseke, his family and the local residents this is reason enough to grow Artemisia on an increasingly industrial scale. He is determined to make his mission succeed and to leave his world in a better state than it currently is.