Mar 11, 2010, 1:46 PM
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Mariatou Jallow, has said that the need for research and innovation into traditional medical products is of paramount importance.
According to her, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 80% of the population living in the rural areas in the developing countries depend on traditional medicine for their health care needs.
Dr. Jallow made this remark last Wednesday at the launch of strategic plan for Traditional Medicine and Home Care Foundation, an NGO founded by Dr. Al Assan, the Head Imam of Brufut Ghana Town.
According to her, the efficacy and safety data to support the wide scale use of traditional medicine are not sufficiently documented.
Noting that the implementation of policies on traditional medicine and the enforcement of regulations surrounding its use are inadequate, she said this strategic plan would respond to some of the challenges.
The health boss further pointed out that the activities outlined in the strategic plan, such as establishing botanical garden of medicinal value and bee-keeping will subsequently preserve and conserve the endangered medicinal plants species.
She added that the training of traditional healers on the recognition of the signs and symptoms of diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis for prompt referral to health facilities would serve as benchmarks in their partnership with traditional healers.
She added that the government is working with WHO and other agencies in its efforts to meets the MDGs targets, noting that as a result national traditional medicine programme was created to co-ordinate traditional healers groups in the country.
In conclusion, she called on the NGO community to come up with collaborative activities to foster better relations between traditional healers and members of the conventional team so as to enhance the integration of the two.
For his part, Mr. Momodou Gassama, WHO Health Promotion Specialist highlighted the importance of traditional medicine, adding that they are recognised by the WHO as complementary to conventional medicine.
According to him, "in 2000 a regional strategic plan was developed to design a strategy to map out the ways and means of bringing this entity to speak in harmony with the conventional medicine".
Mr. Ebrima Jawneh, the Secretary-General of Traditional Medicine Association and Home Care Foundation gave an overview of the objectives of the foundation and its activities.
The ceremony was held at Sheraton Hotel in Brufut.