Group harps on imperative of traditional medicine development

By Athan Agbakwuru

The Imo State Chapter, Association of Commonwealth/Natural/Herbal traditional Medicine Practitioners has advocated effective and sustainable development of indigenous medicine in the country to complement the healthcare delivery services of the nation’s health institutions. As this would help the nation move to another level.

Chairman of the group, Dr Victor Nnaoma Oha made the assertion while delivering his acceptance speech shortly after the new executive officers were inaugurated by the National Vice President, Dr Alhaji Aminu Wada in Owerri, the Imo State Capital.

Stressing the importance of traditional medicine, Oha posited that the current herbal medicine industry in the country is worth about $117billion adding that apart from the provision of health and wealth, processing, researching, packaging, sensitization, collaboration, production and marketing of medicinal plants earns added value.

“If the nation becomes the world’s major exporters of herbal products at least producing about 35% to 40% of the world’s herbal products we will already be at $46billion,” he said.

Oha hinted that the World Health Organization, WHO, pays priority attention to traditional medicine to resolve some of the global health challenges that appear to defy orthodox medicine.

He pledged to embark on capacity building and promotion of members’ welfare as well as seek the development of traditional medicine in the state through the relevant ministries, departments, agencies and MDAs, such as NAFDAC, NDLEA, APCON and NBC.

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The chairman explained that the Commonwealth is a voluntary organization of 56 Independent and Equal Countries which operates in different segments and states, while the Commonwealth Science Council is an Intergovernmental Organization which coordinates and carries out much of the Commonwealth works supported by a network of more than 80 organizations.

Also speaking, the Regional Co-ordinator of the Association (Eastern Zone), Apostle Kenneth Chidi O. Ezeonye said that as one of the three regional arms of the association founded in 2001 after Commonwealth Science Council, CSC, multi-state holders workshop on bio prospection, the zone was poised to fast-track the way forward towards achieving set objectives.

He mentioned the enhancement of collaboration and constant information flow between traditional medicine and orthodox medicine practitioners as well as working in synergy with other sister associations to realize the goals.

Responding, Imo State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Professor Boniface Ginikanwa, charged the group to intensify research on traditional medicine to ensure improved healthcare provision to the citizenry.

The commissioner who was represented by the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr John Ifeanyi Uzoma assured that the state government was ready to assist them to excel in their practice and bring traditional medicine to the front burner in the nation’s health sector.

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