Mr Abdulaziz Abdullahi, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health says the ministry is planning to establish a traditional, complementary and alternative medicine institute to train traditional medicine practitioners across the country.
Abdullahi disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja, at the opening of a 2-day training, for traditional medicine practitioners in Nigeria, organised by the Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) of the ministry.
Represented Mrs Zainab Sheriff, Director, TCAM, Abudullahi said the institute would host the training and certification of the practitioners.
He said the ministry was also pursuing the establishment of TCAM Council through a Bill that is currently with the National Assembly.
According to him, many herbal products distributed in the country are of low quality which impacts negatively on the status of the herbal products in terms of confidence and perception of the products by Nigerians.
“The above scenario calls for the need to train and retrain traditional medicine practitioners in order to enhance their skills and competences.
“It is the mandate of the ministry to harness the potential of the traditional medicine practitioners in the effort to develop and integrate traditional medicine practice into the health care system of the country,” Abdullahi said.
In her address as TCAM Director, Sheriff said the department had been able to fulfil its mandate of promoting traditional medicine and building the capacity of the practitioners.
“We welcome you to this training; it is the training that has been careful selected for traditional medical practitioners who have volunteered to register in line with the requirement of the ministry.
“The training is for practitioners who have registered in line with the requirement of the ministry in the sense of developing traditional medicine database for practitioners in Nigeria.
“You will be empowered to promote our own products through scientific addition to traditional medicine.
“We are aware that you are in charge of 80 per cent of people who leave in rural areas; you are their first point of call.
“We need to collaborate with you to reach this population,” Sherriff said.
In his remarks, Mr Lakowa Ibrahim, the National President, Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners, commended the Federal Government for organising the training.
He, however, expressed the hope that the practitioners would be able to treat serious cases with herbal medicine with support from the government.
“We have developed herbal medicine for cancer, HIV, COVID-19 and other serious diseases.
“Countries such as China and Ghana have supported their herbal medicine practitioners to develop medicines and remedies to complement orthodox medicine.
“We need such support; we need equipment to produce those medicines.
“If that is done, we don’t need to look elsewhere for treatment again,” Ibrahim said.
Similarly, Dr Osita Eugene, National Deputy President of the association called for support from the government at all levels to provide the members with required equipment to produce herbal medicine.
He said that the training would also enable the members to organise themselves better.
“We have been trying to form that unity among practitioners to see that we work in collaboration with the health sector.
“Database registration is ongoing so that every traditional medicine practitioner will be carried along.
“We have more than 10,000 members spread across the country and we have so far registered more than 3,000,” Eugene said. (NAN)