Gambia Observe African Traditional Medicine Day
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in collaboration
with the Traditional Healers Assembly of the
The celebration, under the theme "Traditional Medicine and Patient Safety" is observed by government agencies and traditional healers in the African continent with the objective of promoting traditional medicine and to increase public awareness on developments in traditional medicine.
Speaking at the commemoration, Ramou Cole-Ceesay, Assistant Director Family Health and Disease Control at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare said the theme for this year's celebration offers a unique opportunity to promote traditional medicine, to reflect on its dual role both as a variable option for modern medicine, and its ability to work with the health care delivery systems in member states.
According to her, traditional medicine plays an unsurpassable role in patient's health care seeking behavior and management of patients. "Since 1994, the Ministry has endorsed traditional styles of medicinal work in its national health policy, thanks to the Traditional Medicine Technical Units' program level policy and clear plan of strategy", she added.
For his part, Alpha Jallow, who represented the WHO Representative underscored the importance of patient safety, as constituted in the 2002 WHO resolution (WHA 55.18). The resolution, he added outlined the role of the WHO, and urged member states to establish or strengthen science based systems necessary for improving patient's safety.
He stated that the theme "Traditional Medicine and Patient Safety", is in recognition of the importance of patient safety and the global focus on ensuring overall quality of care.
This concept of patient safety, he continued, refers to the processes or structures which, when applied reduce the probability of adverse events occurring from interaction with the healthcare system. He added that patient safety aims at making healthcare safer for patients and health care providers.
Mr Jallow also noted that populations throughout Africa,
He however revealed that many people believe that traditional medicines are natural, they are safe or they carry no health risk, saying that any medicine, herbal or otherwise has the potential to cause side-effects, incorrect diagnosis and using unproven products.
He said the multiple use of unsterilized devices related to traditional practices to incise or pierce the skin, could increase the transmission of infected diseases, and even endanger patients.
Also addressing the gathering on behalf of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Mariama Jallow, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the same Ministry, Mr. Sainey Susso said the commemoration was ratified in Durban, South Africa by African Assembly Ministers in 2001 with the sole objective of promoting traditional medicine, which he said invariably could be a visible option for conventional medicine thereby complementing Governments quota in the outreach healthcare system of African Countries.
DPS Susso further noted that the slogan of the observance of
the day could enhance public confidence in traditional medicine and strengthen
their partnership with other healthcare deliverance. He said the government of
Amadou Njie, the president of the Traditional Medicine
Assembly of the
He urged members of the Assembly to come together to promote
unity and peace across the country in their healings and treatments for the
betterment of the healthcare system of the
Salif Puye, Vice President of the Association, and Ebrima Jawneh, Secretary General, both spoke at length about the importance of traditional medicine and the background of the traditional medicine.
Author: Sainey M.K. Mareneh