African Traditional Medicine (ATM) practitioners have stressed the need to mainstream ATM into the country’s national healthcare system.
At the commemoration of this year’s 2021, African Traditional Medicine (ATM), in Abuja, Professor Prof. Maurice Iwu said lack of effective communication between practitioners and patients as well use of poor quality, adulterated or counterfeit products are some of the issues affecting Africa medicine.
“Unqualified practitioners, misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to use effective conventional treatments when necessary, are among the misleading or unreliable information; and direct adverse events, side effects or unwanted treatment interactions.”
Prof Iwu observed that plants form the main active ingredients of the remedies dispensed by the traditional medicine men and women, with the ancillary ingredients or excipients.
“Plants also perform other very important functions in the healing processes. “As sources of vital energy, and in some sense a participatory entity, rather than a lifeless object used in healing. Traditional African medicine, therefore, presents an enigma to most western trained minds.”
The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Adeleke Mamora said the federal government was currently working towards the review of the traditional medicine policy.
According to him, “All these measures are aimed at strengthening our resources for the delivery of quality issues, and safe traditional medicine. Also, we have been placed on experts committee for the setting up of traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine Institute to sound for the training of professionals in this sector.”
The minister observed that the series of events during the pandemic calls for the need to look inwards and consider Local production of medicines as necessary for national health security and attainment of universal health coverage.
“The Federal Ministry of Health is working in collaboration with international organizations and relevant ministries, departments, and agencies to develop traditional medicine in Nigeria, and also ensure the discovery of effective remedies against COVID-19 and all other diseases from the rich, and extensive flora of the country.”
“Let me seize this opportunity to inform this gathering of the availability of 10 major industrial standards on African traditional medicine, developed by the standards organization of Nigeria, the standards of reference documents to be utilized by traditional medicine practitioners, such as students, manufacturers of herbal medicine our products.”
“This is aimed at providing safe, quality, officials traditional medicines for both our consumption and export standards could be assessed by the public standard offices across the country,” he said.
On his part, WHO representative, Dr. Kofi Boateng, EPI Focal Point, Universal Health Coverage(UHC) said WHO Nigeria would support the ministry and in particular the department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, Complimentary in the review of the Traditional Medicines Policy 2007, review of the Nigeria Pharmacopoeia 2008 and the development of a 5-year strategic plan to implement the new policy and the revised pharmacopeia.
“WHO will continue to provide technical assistance to the TCAM department, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NPRD) and NAFDAC in improving the quality of medicinal products and ensure the listing of these products in the National Essential Medicines List”
“WHO remains committed to supporting the Government of Nigeria in its goal of achieving self-sufficiency in the local production of pharmaceuticals (including Vaccines), traditional medicine, and researches,” he added.