Beware of COVID-19 patients, minister cautions herbalists

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, has cautioned traditional medicine practitioners to refer patients with symptoms of coronavirus to the appropriate authorities.

Mamora, while delivering an address at a meeting with Traditional Medicine and Herbal Cure Claimants against COVID-19 on Thursday, said ongoing issues of looking inwards for indigenous solutions to COVID-19 was the purpose of government intervention.

He explained that the Federal Government was deeply committed to source for local treatment solutions from the traditional medicine practitioners by ensuring that the right protocol was executed.

The minister said, “We have reached a stage where we are experiencing community transmission of the disease. This calls for the TMPs to be on the watch for patients that will patronise them with symptoms of COVID-19 and refer them appropriately.

“The ministry recognises the role of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in health care delivery, especially at the primary health care level. Accordingly, the ministry has shown interest in the development, promotion, commercialisation and institutionalisation of TCAM Practices in Nigeria.”

Mamora listed some steps taken by the Federal Government to include the establishment of the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development; the development and launching of the Traditional Medicine Policy for Nigeria 2007, under review; and the production of the first edition of Nigeria Herbal Pharmacopoeia in 2008, with the second edition underway.

The minister also cited listing of herbal medicinal products by National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control; and the upgrading of the Traditional Medicine Development Division to the Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2018 and the annual celebration of the African Traditional Medicine Day on August 31.

Others were ongoing collaboration with the University of Benin to set up a TCAM Institute and TCAM hospitals, with plans to commence work on the database of TCAM practitioners in Nigeria and to train them in collaboration with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development; and ongoing process to ensure that the TCAM Bill was sent to the Federal Executive Council for consideration.

He said, “I understand some of you have responded positively by making submissions to the TCAM Department. This essentially is why the ministry is determined to facilitate the process through its relevant agencies participating in the meeting of today. We must engage to chart a way forward.

“You may be aware of the donation of a herbal medicinal product known as COVID Organics to the Federal Government by Madagascar. The product is going to be subjected to the normal protocols of analysis and evaluation by NAFDAC before taking a decision on its use.

“I want to assure you of the ministry’s resolve to forward your submissions to NAFDAC and NIPRD for urgent necessary action. The outcome of their analysis and evaluation on your products will inform appropriate recommendation to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.”

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