The World Health Organisation (WHO) has restated its commitment to support the Federal Government to further integrate the practice of traditional medicine into the National Health System.
The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, disclosed this at a news conference on the commemoration of 2019 Africa Traditional Medicine Day on Friday in Abuja.
Moeti, who was represented by Dr Clement Peter, Officer-in-Charge, WHO Nigeria, urged governments, academics, research institutions and other key players to strengthen collaboration towards the integration of traditional medicine into training programmes for health workers.
He said that the African Traditional Medicine Day was celebrated on Aug. 31 annually, stressing that the day is marked to celebrate tremendous progress in traditional medicine in the region.
Moeti said that the WHO member states in Africa had different regulatory frameworks, different delivery models for primary healthcare and unique traditional medicine profiles.
“WHO has developed and field-tested traditional medicine training tools with pharmacy and medical students in 14 member states. Also, the West Africa Health Organisation has adopted the tools for universities in the region.
“Academic institutions cite challenges in integrating the traditional medicine into the system and WHO stands ready to continue working with governments to further integrate the practice of traditional medicine into the National Health System,’’ the WHO regional director said.
Earlier, the Director-General, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), Dr Obi Adigwe, said the agency had been working with sister agencies to verify claims about some traditional medicines.
Prof. Uche Osumbor, who represented the director-general, said that the agency would continue its research on the traditional medicine from the local flora and fauna.
According to him, the agency has put in place strategies to empower youths who are interested in venturing into traditional medicine production.
He appealed for more support and funding for the development of traditional medicine in the country.
Similarly, Mr Abubakar Rashid, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, said the commission was ready to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Health to improve the knowledge of undergraduate students of health sciences on traditional medicine.
Mr Loveth Iwuzu, the representative of the Nigeria Traditional Medicine Practitioners, however, urged the government to provide policies that would guard the intellectual property rights of the practitioners.
Reports have it that in the year 2000, health ministers in Africa adopted a resolution on promoting traditional medicine in the health system.
The 2019 African Traditional Medicine Day has the theme “Integrating traditional medicine in health sciences curricular in the African Region’’.