Dr Jegede Obafemi, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan (UI), has urged regulatory agencies in the country to devise a different method of regulating herbal medicines and practitioners.
According to him, this will curb issues of quackery and safety.
Jegede made this known at a seminar/Exhibition organised by the Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos (UNILAG) to commemorate the 2021 World Traditional Medicine Day
The programme had as it theme: “‘Traditional Medicine: Research and Development”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that African Traditional Medicine Day is marked annually on Aug.31 to promote the importance of the continent’s rich biodiversity of medicinal plants and herbs in improving well-being.
“African medicine is different from Orthodox medicine. I blame the food and drug regulatory agencies for inadequate regulation of herbal medicine in this country.
“The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria and other regulatory agencies are also there, but the question is, are they regulating herbal medicine the right way?
“They must devise a completely different method of accepting or rejecting traditional medicine products.
“They are still using the same western empirical method to validate or invalidate traditional medicine.
“We won’t go anywhere because the knowledge systems are not the same. The whole process of traditional medicine is not the same as that of western medicine.
“So you cannot use a new method that is alien to the African people to validate or invalidate whatever they do and this won’t help,” he said.
Obafemi said the government should give the needed support to trado-medicine to enhance herbal medicine and improve the health system.
According to him, the major problem is the government is not giving practitioners the needed support to promote and improve traditional medicine in Nigeria, and that is what we clamour for.
Obafemi said that supporting traditional medicine would result in a lot of benefits to health, economy and eventually take us to the promised land.
He advised the government to invest more in traditional medicine research, adding that whatever was not researched became a mystery, difficult to understand while whatever was researched became knowledge.
“So, the only reason to develop a knowledge system in traditional medicine is to encourage research into it.
“When it is researched, there will be theories, hypotheses and there will be advancement or development for traditional medicine.
“Just like any other thing in the world, the very basis for validity is research. So, research is very critical to the recognition and validation of herbal medicine,” he said. (NAN)