By: Hannah Dadzie
The Founder of the Ghana Association of Medical Herbalists, Dr Kofi Busia, has asked Ghanaians to debunk the uncorroborated myth that traditional medicines cause kidney or liver problems.
He made the point at the 20th commemoration of the African Traditional Medicine Day and 23rd Traditional medicine week celebration in Accra.
Dr Busia said herbal medicines have outspoken therapeutic benefits, adding that it is not quackery as purported by some members of the public.
He indicated that in pursuance of the contribution of traditional medicine to society, it is about time Ghana reflected on the gains made so far and identify the perspective for the future.
Traditional medicine has been the trusted, acceptable, affordable and accessible source of health care for the African population for centuries. Research indicates that 80 percent of Africans rely on traditional medicines for their basic health needs.
Ghana is ranked the country with a comprehensive traditional medicine system on the continent.
The Founder of the Ghana Association of Medical Herbalists, Dr Kofi Busia, said in order for the country to inch closer to achieving universal health Coverage, there is the need to pay attention to herbal medicines which has a cure for a lot of diseases.
“like other orthodox medicines, there was scientific evidence to proof the efficacy and safety of most herbal medicines, and it must only be prescribed and used ‘sensibly’ by the public” Dr Busia said
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu said government is committed to developing traditional medicine to international standards. He said this will be a possible export commodity for the African continent and the world at large. He said over 100 medical herbalists have been attached to about 55 public health facilities across the country to complement healthcare delivery.
“The ratio of traditional healers in Ghana to the population is 1:400 while that for orthodox doctors to the population is 1:600 and indicative of the increasing demand for traditional medicine,” he noted
Director of the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Directorate (TAMD), at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Mrs. Anastasia Yirenkyi, said it is time for the necessary steps to be taken to make traditional medicine a viable option in the country’s healthcare system. According to her, the country can achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and SDG 3, which calls for achieving health for all ages by 2030, if the orthodox and traditional medicine practices co-exist.
Dr. Mrs. Yirenkyi called for the building of traditional and alternative medicine hospitals in at least the regional capitals and the introduction of fully herbal/traditional and alternative medicine curriculum into the medical and paramedical health training institutions.
“Establish traditional medicine development fund to facilitate the progress in the area of research and development of safe, quality and efficacious herbal medicine,” she said,
In a speech read her on behalf, the Chief Executive Officer of Food and Drugs Authority, FDA Delese Mimi Darko said the Authority will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that herbal medicines conform to standards to avoid complications.
“Food and Drugs Authority has journeyed with the traditional medicine fraternity since Ghana took steps to build a strong traditional medicine industry, that could contribute to health care delivery. FDA is happy to work with all stakeholders to ensure herbal medicines in our country confirm to the highest standards of quality, safety and efficacy” she indicated
The commemoration brought together the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners, GHAFTRAM, members of Traditional and Alternative Medicine Directorate, TAMD, chiefs and other stakeholders.
The practitioners were commended for their immense achievements in the Two Decades of African Traditional Medicine.