The need for the establishment of a regulatory body to create a curriculum for the practice and development of indigenous medicine has been presented to the senate.
Renowned trado-medical specialist, Dr Muhammad Ibrahim Jawa from Yobe State, in his Bill to the senate, sought for the integration of African traditional medical practice into the conventional health care delivery system of Nigeria, through training and contributions in policymaking and legislation.
According to Jawa, who is also the National President of the African Traditional Medicine Practitioners, traditional medicine had been in use by Africans in the promotion and maintenance of health, as well as treatment of illnesses long before the colonial invasion.
He hinted that the African Heads of Government had in 2001 agreed to develop a policy and legislation for the development of African traditional medicine. He also noted that the leaders had at that time, declared 31 August of each year as a day to celebrate African traditional medicine. According to him, Nigeria, like every other African country, has been celebrating African Traditional Medicine Day for over a decade.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) rightly noticed that there is no uniform method or approach of solving health challenges of member countries hence advised its member countries to develop their own indigenous medicine with the aim of integrating same into their conventional health care delivery systems.
“In 2001, the WHO Regional Committee for Africa adopted a strategy for the development, incorporation, and optimization of the use of Africa traditional medicine. This strategy was adopted by the Organization of Africa Unity O.A.U (now African Union AU) as well.
“The aim is to develop African traditional medicine which is the total sum of knowledge, skills and practice based on the theories, beliefs, and experience, indigenous to different cultures whether explicable or not that are used to maintain health as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve or treat physical and mental illness,” he explained in the Bill.
He said Nigeria can identify, develop and invest in its own traditional medicine to earn both global recognition and commercial benefits in addition to solving the country’s numerous health care challenges as exemplified by China and India.
The regulatory body, if so constituted, according to Jawa, would be a prelude to the establishment of an institution of Traditional, Alternative and Complementary Medicine in the country.