Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olurunnimbe Mamora has advised African leaders to make efforts to include the traditional medicine into the mainstream healthcare delivery system.
He said time has come for the continent to reflect on how well it has fared in the promotion, research development and integration of trado medicine especially with the outbreak of COVID-19, a development he says has forced countries across the world to look inward for solutions.
Sen. Mamora took this stand on Tuesday at a ministerial press briefing to mark the 2020 African Traditional Medicine Day Celebration.
This year’s celebration which has as the theme “Two Decades of African Traditional Medicine (2001-2020): What Progress in Countries?” according the the Minister presents the African continent with the opportunity for stock taking of achievement and failure in traditional Medicine sector.
“You will recall that Madagascar came up with a herbal product, called Covid Organics which claims to be preventive and curative for COVID-19, although this claim is yet to be scientifically proven, but it would not be out of place to acknowledge this effort and its a good step in African continent. I must commend the gallant efforts of some of our herbal practitioners who made similar moves in this regard; we urge them to step forward to be counted”, the Minister of State, said.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the Director, Information, Media & Public Relations, Olujimi Oyetomi, the Minister further observed that Nigeria is blessed with thousands of species of trado medical plants that can turn round the country’s health sector.
The statement partly reads, “Speaking further, Dr. Mamora said that in Nigeria, we are blessed with over 8,000 species of medicinal plants which provides low hanging fruits for the production of agro allied pharmaceutical raw materials, herbal medicines, trado medicines and body care products to mention a few. Looking inward, the Federal Ministry of Health has requested traditional herbal medicine practitioner who claim to have herbal medicines for the management of COVID-19 to submit such claims for necessary evaluation and validation.
“Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi said in his opening remarks that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world; it has become increasingly necessary to look at strategies by all countries to tackle this novel Corona Virus. “It is worthy of mention that since COVID-19 was discovered, Nigeria has also joined the world in the search for cure and management of this virus. Various traditional medicine practitioners have submitted claims for products with potential to cure this disease. These products have been fully handed to NIPRD and NAFDAC for further evaluation. This development is evidence of Government’s commitment and involvement towards the development, promotion of traditional medicine and its gradual integration into the main health care delivery system.”
The statement also added that a member of the ad-hoc Committee on Health, at the National Assembly, Hon. Dr. Shehu Balarabe Kakale, reiterated support for the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Government in tightening the loopholes in the area of Alternative, Traditional and Complimentary Medicine for the benefit of Nigerians.
“80% of Nigerians use traditional medicine one way or the other and have got remedies and succor in many areas concerning their health and well-being, with the current new support in the sector, a lot could be achieved in reducing medical tourism, improving health and welfare of Nigerians and of course, creating jobs to boost the economy” he said.
He further assured of the support of his colleagues at the National Assembly to do their best in continuous, seamless and harmonious relationship in passing bills and other resolution of the Traditional Medicine Association as well as the institution that certify this products for the benefits of Nigerians.
In his comment, the Director General of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr. Obi Adigwe said that for the first time in the Country’s history an interdisciplinary team of over 20 eminent and erudite Professors are drawn from various universities and geopolitical regions to form the National Scientific Advisory Committee (NSAC) to verify claims by Traditional Medicines Practitioners.
According to Dr. Adigwe, this landmark achievement not only ensures that Corona virus cure claims are subjected to the highest international science, it also ensures that the highest relevant standards of safety and efficacy are maintained, in order to safeguard the lives of Nigerians.
He further informed of the commencement of its nationwide training and capacity building of Traditional Medicines Practitioners.
“This year, the activity being decentralized to states and rural areas to ensure a robust and comprehensive engagement with Governors, sub-national policymakers and regulators, as well as to mitigate identified challenges such as paucity of funds, limited information technology capacity and poor understanding of scientific, policy and regulatory processes”, he stated. In his words: “NIPRD remains committed to undertaking activities that foster and stimulate ground-breaking evidence based methodologies and policies that would enable the inherent fulfilment of health and socioeconomic potential associated with African Traditional Medicines.”