The West African Health Ministers rose from its 11th Ordinary Meeting with a resolution to Institutionalise Traditional Medicine and for Studies to be conducted into herbal medicines for its integration into conventional medicine.
The meeting which was held in Freetown, Serria Leone also recognised the potential of Traditional Medicine to contribute to improvingÂ access to quality health care in the region with appropriate regulation and control.
Minister of State for Health, and Chairman of WAHO, Alhaji Suleiman Bello, in his remarks, said traditional medicine is the only means to access health care as it is readily accessible, affordable and culturally acceptable in the region.
â€œIt is therefore imperative that the Traditional Medicine Sector is supported to leave no room for charlatanism.
â€œTraditional medicine practitioners must be trained and regulated to enable them acquire the necessary skills and competencies to perform this ancient and culturally respected art of compassionate care and healing alongside the orthodox medical practiceâ€™â€™.
He cautioned that traditional medicine cannot always be a substitute for effective, life-saving modern medicines and emergency measurement that have saved the lives of millions of people around the globe, but urged practitioners not to turn themselves into specialists thereby risking patients lives.
â€œThis could be prevented through adequate regulations and by integrating your practices and products rather than marginalising them.â€ The Ministers also emphasised the need to adoptÂ innovative approach to address the health challenges of the region, and e called for a Primary Health Care System with adequate human resource, infrastructure andÂ better access to quality essential medicines.
Other decisions include the review and adoption of the resolutions on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases; adoption of the resolution for the approval and adoption of the harmonised curricula forÂ training of nurses and midwives in Francophone countries and on the integration of primary eye care into Primary Health Care.