Sixteen herbal/alternative medicine centres and a practitioner have been honoured for upholding excellence in that area of healthcare in the country.

They include Chocho Herbal Industries Limited, Proven Health Solutions Centre, Dank Natural Healthcare Complex, Suzzy Herbal Centre, Greenfield Scientific Herbal Clinic, Profecy Herbal Centre, Givers Scientific Herbal Clinic, S.O Herbal Centre and Power Specialist Herbal Clinic.

The others are Mansowa Herbal Clinic, Herbal Intervention Clinic, Dr Forkuo Herbal Clinic, Natural Way Herbal Clinic, Dr Edu Herbal Clinic and Boafo Herbal Centre with the practitioner being Professor Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, president of Dr Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine -Ghana.

They were presented plaques and citations at the 5th West Africa all Herbal/Alternative Medicine Practitioners Conference and Awards, held in Accra, on Friday.

It was organised by WAI-West African International Press Limited, on the theme: “Herbal/Alternative medicine; the new frontier in healthcare.”

Dr Kofi Bobi Barimah, Executive Director, Centre for Plant Medicine Research, who presided over the ceremony, noted that herbal/alternative medicine was gaining trust because of high standard the centre insisted on amongst practitioners.

He said the centre was leading a course for full integration of herbal medicine in healthcare, adding that the Ministry of Health was exploring the possibility of including herbal medicine on the National Health Insurance Scheme medicine list.

Dr Barimah , who is also a member of the Food and Drugs Authority board and Traditional Medicine Practice Council, urged practitioners to ensure that their medicines were tested and approved, increase awareness creation and unite to enable their medicine get due recognition.

Speaking on the theme, Prof. Obu, said Africa was endowed with diverse plants, fruits and by-products , including guava, bitter cola and palm oil from the oil plant tree that were efficacious which needed to be leveraged through well managed preparation and use.

He called for more research to be done in the various sub sectors of alternative medicine including homeopathy to address the doubts some medical practitioners had about it.

Touching on the controversial debate on legalisation of marijuana, he said there was confusion over the exact plant called marijuana and advocated further to clarify this for policy formulation.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of WAI, Dr Dee Otibu-Asare said herbal medicine industry had seen some positive changes over the last decade and thanked the government and other stakeholders for initiatives that had increased public education and reduced the influx of quack herbal practitioners.

He advised practitioners to be honest in the promotion of their medicine as this would help change the negative perception, saying “remember your products are to heal, not to harm. Always put your patients first”.

On behalf of honourees, Alfred Boateng of Givers Scientific Herbal Clinic, expressed gratitude for the recognition, and pledged to continue upholding high professional standards to save lives.

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