Opinion: Herbal medicines possess no danger to public health

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In recent times has been a worrying trend. Where top or senior allopathic medicines managers get the least opportunity in the public space turn into a conforaneous strategies.

The question is who are they in competition with? Is it the multi nationals whom they are marketing or selling their products/drugs. Where proceeds is been repatriated to foreign countries against our indigenous God giving medicines found on our land, that when developed, and market internationally the effect on our nation Ghana not to talk about the honour and its monetary value. A call to the director of Medical Services to education its Regional Directors has to the structures in the Ministry of Health.

That we have come a long way in traditional and alternative medicines in Ghana with a directorate call TAMD (Traditional and Alternative Medicine Directorate) with an able and qualified director. Dr. Anastasia Yirenkye and the immediate past registrar Torgbui Yaka being a Pharmacist and a Lawyer at the TMPC (Traditional Medicine Practice Council) of the Ministry of Health.

In recent past, there was a publication in the news that herbal medicines are the causes of kidney disorders in the country which I found disturbing and worrying. Statements of this nature must be researched and scientifically proven with clearly defined methodology from the labs to its clinical trials, to ascertain acceptable facts, and not sweeping statement in the public space.

In any case go to the developed countries, kidney cases are rampant where households are buying and using dialysis machines in their homes, so what are we talking about?

Dr. Adam Atiku expressed worry that, despite the availability of specialist, some people first visited herbal doctors for treatment and went to the hospital with deteriorated conditions. Dr. Atiku is a Regional Medical Director in Tamale and should be able to ascertain why patients decides to go to herbal doctors as the first point of call than the hospitals.

It has been on the TAMD/TMPC’s radar over the years. Might be accessibility or financial constraints or they have believe in the herbal medicines. To the allopathic hospitals, deteriorated cancer conditions/auto-immune conditions what do they do to them, you send them home then to the same herbal/traditional doctors.

Saturday, 21st May, 2022, the Ghanaian Times, attributed a captioned to one Dr. Adam Atiku, Director of Tamale Teaching Hospital that Herbal Medicine possess danger to public health. Our research, herbal medicines possess no dangers to public health rather had contributed immensely since time immemorial.

Our reference to Dr. Oku Ampofo, Mampong Research Institute. Dr. Adam Atiku’s task that day was to open an endoscopy unit at the Tamale Teaching Hospital and he could not rather tell us how they were managing cases that needed endoscopy and what they do to those cases whether they refer them to Accra or Kumasi. Rather chooses to veer into a sector he knows nothing about. To all and sundry it has been estimated that we have over 40,000 traditional medicine practitioner in the country. The TMPC and GHAFRAM has been able to track and register over 20,000 and they are been trained, they are been taken through CPD’s three or four times in the year region by region, part of their training is about type of cases that need to be refer to the hospitals.

The issue about Herbal/Traditional Medicine Practitioners in the media, we have been with the Media Commission and working on a code to be used by the Media Houses. Most of the herbal medicines in the market has been verified and approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and some are been marketed by the pharmaceutical shops.

Since 2005, KNUST has been producing medical herbalist graduates through the Mampong Research Institute where the Ministry of Health has posted eighty-six medical herbalist to fifty-five Government Hospitals across the country, prescribing herbal medicines certified and approved by the FDA/the TAMD of the Ministry of Health.

We in Alternative Medicine sees allopathic Medicine practitioners as partners and not as competitors. In the developed countries today USA and Europe are been introduced to Integrative medicine were allopathic medicine practitioners are studying Alternative Medicine in addition to their practice and it’s vice versa.

The writer is a chiropractor, Dr. A.N. Arthur

Former Board Member TMPC

President of GAMPA

Chairman Accreditation Registration Committee of the TMPC

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