Serving and past members of the Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board (LSTMB) have made case for more investment in Traditional Medicine, even as they have identified it as the bastion for achieving Universal Health Coverage across Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
The Board, established in 1980 to regulate the code of conduct and practice of traditional medicine in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub and most populous state is responsible for the accreditation, inspection, monitoring and licensing of all traditional medicine Practitioner and traditional clinics/health facilities premises.
The Registrar of the Board, Mr. Babatunde Adele who spoke at a Press Conference in Lagos called for more recognition of practitioners.
He described traditional medicine as a mainstay towards achieving Sustainable Development and Universal Health Coverage (UHC), adding that about 80 per cent of Africa’s population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs.
In the same vein, former Chairman of the Board, Prof. Adebukonla Adefule-Ositelu, affirmed that traditional medicine is readily available, less toxic and very effective, noting that the use of traditional medicine should be embraced by everyone.
On what the State Government has done to enhance the practice of traditional medicine, the former Chairman of the Board said practitioners are now better trained on appropriate and acceptable practices in traditional medicine.
She pleaded with the State Government to invest in establishing a traditional medicine laboratory where research can be conducted and clinical trials carried out, saying that the establishment of laboratories would further increase the recognition accorded to traditional medicine practice.
Meanwhile, the Registrar has stressed the significant contribution of traditional medicine as a major provider of healthcare services in Africa, and by extension in the world.
He disclosed that the Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board is in the process of evolving an enviable integrated model, most especially at the primary healthcare level to address peculiar health gaps.
While assuring that the Agency will continue to provide the enabling environment needed to unlock the inherent potentials in traditional medicine to the benefit of mankind, Adele revealed that the rate of infant and maternal mortality from traditional medicine practitioners has drastically reduced due to the periodical training from the Board.
He used the opportunity of the event to call on traditional medicine practitioners to cooperate, collaborate and support each other by upholding the high ethical standards in the discharge of their obligation to patients and mankind.
In his words: “We are now at a point in our onerous journey in achieving parity and recognition accorded conventional healthcare practitioners and products, as such, all hands must be on deck”.
The Registrar said that Lagos State remains a state to reckon with among all the states in the country in the area of global best practices in traditional medicine, stressing that the State had consistently paid attention to traditional medicine for the past 43 years and the state is now being understudied by others across the country.
Earlier the Director of Research and Training in the Agency, Mr. Hakeem Bello averred that strategically unlocking the huge economic potential of herbal medicine can translate to national, regional and global economic prosperity.
According to him, in the spirit of celebrating the auspicious occasion with the rest of the world, there might be a need for an institutional situation analysis of our trajectory going forward for a decisive road map toward sustainable health and economic development.
The 31st of August every year has been earmarked for the celebration of African Traditional Medicine Day by the WHO African Region in recognition of the enduring significance of African traditional medicine and its integral role in enhancing health and well-being across the African continent.