The Herbs Sellers Association of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to ban the practice of hawking ‘Agbo’ (cooked herbs) on the streets to safe people’s lives.
Mrs Modinat Onike, Financial Secretary of ‘Elewe Omo Herbs Sellers Association of Nigeria, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of a media roundtable on Wednesday in Lagos.
NAN reports that the forum, which focused dangers associated with the use of herbal medicines, was organised by Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA).
The association identified unregistered herbs hawkers on the streets as the major challenge facing traditional medical practice in the country.
According to her, unregistered herbs hawkers are fond of administering wrong dosage and usage to innocent buyers who patronise them.
“We the registered and known Elewe -Omo herb sellers are more trained than the herbs hawkers; they are not supposed to hawk cooked herbs to sell, it is a wrong practice according to the practice.
“We don’t cook the ‘agbo’ (herbs), we rather give the raw herbs and roots to our clients with instructions on usage and preparation.
“We call on the Federal Government to step into this matter as soon as possible, and stop the practice of hawking cooked herbs to safe people’s lives, they have no knowledge of what they are selling,” Onike said.
She also called on the general public to desist from patronising those hawking herbs on the streets and engage the proper herbs sellers for all their herbal medicines for safety.
Earlier during the roundtable, Dr Sam Etatuvie, Director General of NNMDA, called for more awareness and education on proper use of herbal medicines to reduce the dangers of drug abuse, especially in youths.
The NNMDA boss said that the forum was organised to create awareness and inform the public about the dangers associated with the use of herbal medicine.
He disclosed that about four billion people out of the estimated global population of 6.3 billion patronised the use of plants to meet their primary health care needs.
“We believe that the media can create awareness to educate and inform the public about the dangers associated with the manner of use of herbal medicine.
“This will go a long way to draw public attention to drug herbal interaction and reduce the rate of youths involvement in irrational use of herbal medicine.
“As an agency under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, NNMDA’s mandate includes research, development, promotion, documentation and education on the practice, product and technologies of natural medicine in Nigeria, with a view to facilitating its integration into healthcare delivery system.
“This increase in the demand and availability of services of natural medicine has occasioned the developmental policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the health sector,” he said.
He said that the agency had conducted several trainings of Traditional Medicine Practitioners (TMPs) in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
“We have started entrepreneurial programses for TMPs on the sourcing, preservation and sales of raw materials and finished products of natural medicines.
“We have also conducted series of trainings for TMPs on the need to improve the methodology and production handling in line with the WHO standard in Good Handling Manufacturing Practices in terms of preservation, collection and movement of raw material from farm to production,” he said.
Etatuvie called for intervention to combat irrational use of herbal medicines and promotion of more rational motivation and adherence to strict good manufacturing practice and clinical guidelines at practitioners’ end and awareness among the general public.