The Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (GHAFTRAM) has appealed to the government to set up a development fund to support the herbal medicine industry to make it thrive and earn foreign exchange.
Such fund, the Association said, could be used to support research and development activities, put up physical infrastructure and procure other logistics to enhance the quality of herbal products.
President of GHAFTRAM, Mr Kojo Odum Eduful, made the appeal at a ceremony to usher into office the new Executives of the Greater Accra Regional branch of the Ghana National Association of Traditional Healers (GNATH).
The 17-member executive under the leadership of Nana Kwadwo Obiri, would steer the affairs of GNATH in the next four years by formulating effective and efficient policies to advance the course of the branch.
Mr Eduful said traditional herbal sector was made up of indigenous people who had little or no resource to develop the knowledge hence the call for a dedicated fund to support them.
He said one of the challenges impeding the smooth sail of their operations was the high cost of sets of tests that herbal products had to go through that include efficacy, chromic toxicity and stability.
Mr Eduful urged the government to take steps to ensure that practitioners of herbal medicine were included in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
According to him, though the members contribute immensely to the delivery of healthcare in the country, they are being discriminated against as a result of the exclusion of herbal drugs from the NHIS.
In a speech delivered on behalf of Mrs Delese A. Darko, the Chief Executive Officer, Food and Drugs Authority, said traditional herbal medicines have gain recognition and continue to play important role by providing primary healthcare.
Studies conducted, she said, revealed that traditional herbal medicinal products had successfully cured conditions including fever, bone fracture, stomach discomfort and malaria.
The FDA had supported to promote traditional herbal medicinal products through standardization, safety and labelling which had given it a global appeal.
Nana Obiri, in his acceptance speech, pledged to work with the new executive to ensure improve, develop, promote and protect traditional medicine to meet international standard.
He gave the assurance that the Traditional Medicine Practitioners would cooperate with FDA and other stakeholders to ensure that the public had safe, and efficacious herbal medicine.
To facilitate the standardization of herbal products, he said the group would use the dues being paid to register and acquire certification.
He urged all traditional herbal practitioners to register with the Association to ensure proper monitoring and to promote a unified front to fight for their welfare and safeguard the health of their patrons.
He appealed to the government to consider building a traditional medicine facility in every region to promote the use of traditional herbal products, provide employment and maintain traditional heritage.
Additionally, he said, 19 herbal medicines were currently being used in government health facilities such as the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Ho Municipal Hospital, among others, but “these drugs have not been promoted enough to make the public have confidence in them.”