From Musliudeen Adebayo, Ibadan

In a bid for an improved health care service delivery, the Phytotherapists Association of Nigeria (PAN) has called on government to give more support towards the development of herbal medicine in the country through the enactment of bill recognising and regulating the practice.

This call was made by the National President of the Association, Alhaji Fatai Yusuf during the commissioning of ultra-modern factory and office complex of Ajebi Trado Medical Centre, Oyo town.

He maintained that the enactment of the bill, would facilitate the establishment of the traditional medicine and healing department in government hospitals and tertiary institutions across the country.

Yusuf said the government must realise the importance in the use of herbs which forms the larger medicinal substance of the conventional drug as the pathway to health evolution.

According to him, “in every nook and cranny of our great country there is availability of people that provide complementary and alternative medicine services. And I believe most of us here have benefited from the knowledge and services of our people especially in the rural areas. The challenge is that there is no legislation to regulate the practice of this highly important and sensitive activity”.

The PAN President said lack of regulation exposed the practice to “unethical, crude and sharp practices by quacks and people who know nothing in the field of traditional and herbal medicine.

“The purpose of this bill is to establish an agency of government that can regulate, monitor and create acceptable standard in traditional and herbal medicine industry as well as eliminate quacks. The agency will implement all those recommendations and there will be many other benefits which include saving people’s lives by eliminating quacks as well as establishment of traditional medicine and healing department in government hospitals and higher institutions of learning.

“It will also create jobs and wealth for people who are willing to learn and adopt traditional medicine practice as a genuine profession and generate income for our nation by its conversion from informal to formal sector of the economy.”

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ajebi Trado Medical Centre, Alhaji Isiaka Gbolagade Awujoola lamented that despite the huge potential of traditional and herbal medicine to make Nigeria financially independent, generating foreign income and boost primary health care services governments at all levels have continued to neglect the practice.

“To address this anomaly, a bill to recognise and accept the importance of traditional and herbal medicine in health care delivery should be enacted as a matter of urgency. We learnt the bill for an act to provide for the establishment of the Traditional Medicine Council of Nigeria has passed the third reading in the last National Assembly, which we are appealing to present National Assembly to conclude the procedure to make it law.

“There are lots of research we have made into herbal cures that are begging for development but lack of recognation by government and shortage od funds are major bane to this giant strides. Nigeria has potential herbal medicine products for the treatment of cancers, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), management of stroke, hypertension, diabetes, malaria, anti-rabies and anti -snake vaccines, among others”.

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