NANTMP tasks N’Assembly on traditional medicine bill

National Asembly

National Asembly

President of National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP), Prof. Omon Oleabhiele, has called on the legislative arm of government to sponsor a bill in support traditional medicine and its practitioners in the country.

Oleabhiele said this at an event organised by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to mark this year’s African Traditional Medicine (ATM) Day in Lagos State.

Oleabhiele noted that African traditional medicine (ATM) has the potentials to bail the continent from its quagmire, a result of ailments’ resistant to treatments, adding, “that is why the World Health Organization testifies to its capabilities”.

Oleabhiele, who appreciated the efforts of NAFDAC, also called for the creation of the “Mandatory Traditional Medicine Board in all the states of the federation to effect a perfect regulation of traditional medicine.”

Director General of NAFDAC, Dr. Paul Orhii, stated that though traditional medicine is still the main source of health care for about 80 per cent of the population in developing countries, there had been an upsurge of interest in the use of traditional medicine in developed countries too, over the last few years.

The problems, he observed, are not unconnected with the safety and quality of traditional medicine in both developing and developed countries.

Orhii, who was represented by the agency’s Director of Drug Evaluation and Research, Titilope Owolabi, pointed out that, “owing to the complexity of herbs in particular, it is essential that they are subjected to rigorous scientific evaluations like conventional medicines in order to guarantee their safety, quality and efficacy”.

He, however, explained that the agency is vested with the responsibility of safeguarding public health; hence all regulated herbal medicines must conform to acceptable standards of quality, safety and efficacy.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Regulation of Traditional (Herbal) Medicine production in the African region”.

In an interview with The Guardian, Owolabi, noted that, the challenges of traditional medicine, includes standardization, because unlike the orthodox medicines, traditional medicine has not gone through the processes of clinical trials, and the issue of dosage is still inherent.

She added that, traditional medicines are safe, as long as they have been subjected to rigorous screening by any national regulatory authority.
Owolabi, was however quick to add that NAFDAC, does not allow any bogus claims, so practitioners of traditional medicines should present to the agency in an acceptable manner their raw materials for due processes.

With reference to this year’s, she stressed that, “ NAFDAC does not regulate the practice of any profession, but products only”.

A member of NAFDAC Expert Committee on Verification of Claims on Herbal Medicine Prof. Anthony Elujoba regretted that in spite of the importance of traditional medicine, its practice was yet to be institutionalized in Nigeria.

He, however, thanked NAFDAC for institutionalizing traditional medicine products in the country.

The NAFDAC DG, appealed to the mass media to assist the agency to address the anomaly of unverified claims, by insisting on seeing authentic NAFDAC approval before carrying any advertisement on herbal medicines.

African Traditional Medicine Day is observed every year on August 31, a day ministers of health adopted the relevant resolution at the 50th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 15 years ago, to raise awareness on the critical role that traditional medicine plays in improving the health of the African people.

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