Why Speedy action is required:
• A group of Chinese Investors anxiously waiting for the take-off of both TCAM — Prince Ishola Abiodun Olatunbosun
• ’Because the African continent has not made full use of the vast human and material resources vested in it by nature, there is a huge investment vacuum to be filled by any brave and adventurous entrepreneur. The case of one of the richest men in the world, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, is a vivid example. What Dangote has done is simple. He has dared to tread where others are scared to go. In human endeavour, the high risk usually accompanies high reward after a proper cost-benefit analysis. – Tunde Adeniran
• Traditional medicine practitioners have been on the issue of having regulatory laws for their practice for over two decades. It has been 20 years of struggle. Different interest groups in the two branches of healing have been on this. They include the Governing Board of Traditional Medicine now known as National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP) – Magnus Adeyemi
• 75 per cent of people patronise indigenous medicine for treatment. – World Health Organisation
• God has not created any disease without cure and cures are hidden in plants and other natural endowments. – Mike Oye
• Capable of yielding millions of dollars into Nigeria’s purse monthly
His Imperial Majesty, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi has applauded the Federal Government for taking positive steps towards passing the bill for the establishment of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) Governing Council by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Similarly, an expert in traditional medical practice has lauded the government for moving in this direction.
Oba Ogunwusi made the commendation as a Special Guest of Honour at a public hearing for the bill for an Act to provide for prevention, control and management of sickle cell anemia and for other purposes connected therewith, and the Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment and Incorporation of the Federal College of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) of Nigeria.
The public hearing was organised by the Senate Committee on Health in Abuja at which the Ooni who was represented by Professor of Medicine at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Director of Pan African Foundation for Indigenous Medical Research and Development (PEFIMERD), Prof. Esimai Olapeju. Olapeju said said the establishment of TCAM Governing Council and provision of legal backing for the TCAM College will enhance and facilitate integration of orthodox medicine and TCAM towards ensuring good health and wellbeing of Nigerians.
Oba Ogunwusi appreciated the efforts of the Federal Government, the Senate Committee on Health and all stakeholders present at the public hearing and urged them to be decisive and take urgent steps to ensure that similar public hearing is organised for the bill for the TCAM Governing Council as soon as possible. Also speaking at the public hearing, Chairman of Nigeria-China Economic Community Relations and a Member of TCAM College Committee, Prince Ishola Abiodun Olatunbosun expressed optimism that the passage of the TCAM Governing Council Bill into law will encourage and boost direct foreign investment into Nigeria’s herbal medicine industry.
Prince Olatunbosun disclosed that a group of Chinese Investors are anxiously waiting for the take-off of both TCAM Governing Council and College to enable them to inject the needed fund into various facets of the TCAM industry in the country. An investment enthusiast, Prof. Tunde Adeniran had similarly argued for investment in this all important sub-sector: He asserts that: ‘’Because the African continent has not made full use of the vast human and material resources vested in it by nature, there is a huge investment vacuum to be filled by any brave and adventurous entrepreneur. The case of one of the richest men in the world, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, is a vivid example. What Dangote has done is simple. He has dared to tread where others are scared to go. In human endeavour, the high risk usually accompanies high reward after a proper cost-benefit analysis:
IMPORTANCE OF TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PRACTICE
Meanwhile, the President of the Nigerian Council of Physicians of Natural Medicine, Prof Magnus Adeyemi is reported by the Nation Newspaper as stating that ‘’ traditional medicine practitioners have been on the issue of having regulatory laws for their practice for over two decades. It has been 20 years of struggle. Different interest groups in the two branches of healing have been on this. They include the Governing Board of Traditional Medicine now known as National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP)
Traditional Medicine is the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness. The World Health Organisation (WHO) Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014–2023, was developed and launched in response to the World Health Assembly resolution on traditional medicine (WHA62.13). The strategy aims to support member states in developing proactive policies and implementing action plans that will strengthen the role traditional medicine plays in keeping populations healthy.
It is on record that all practitioners became highly organised under the platform- NANTMP. Unfortunately a vocal voice was recently lost in the person of Chief Felix Esho. He was an enlightened traditional medicine practitioner. As healers, we know that the main branches are Traditional Medicine (TM) and Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM). TM comprises diviners (Babalawo) and physicians (Onisegun), who use ingredients such as herbal plants and parts of animals, among others for healing. TM comprises the old way that is highly indigenous to a people. CAM on the other hand is bringing into a place the way of healing of another place (their taditional medicine) to a people, i.e, the traditional medicine of another country. The CAM includes Chiropathy, Naturopathy, Acupunture, Osteopathy etc.
The merging of these two broad branches paved way to a unified front to have the bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of complementary and alternative medicine commission, and also a bill for an act to provide for the establishment of the Traditional Medicine Council of Nigeria. It is on record that both branches are under the Nigerian Council of Physicians of Natural Medicine. I am the Chairman of Board of Trustees of Traditional Medicine. My experience as holder of both purviews has helped made the journey fruitful to this point. We have been championing the course for both sides, but we realised that there was no policy to regulate any activities by either practitioners.
So, over the years, we became concerned about how to ensure regulation because before the advent of orthodox medicine, our people have a way of treating themselves. It is on record that Yoruba people of western Nigeria are very sturdy. And when taken into slavery, double the amount for slaves were paid in areas populated by the Yoruba in Cuba and Brasil etc.So, we that went overseas to study the traditional medicine of those places on arrival formed the association of CAM practitioners. And then, we teamed up with indigenous traditional medicine practitioners.
So, we all exist but there was no policy to guide our practice. This is in spite of the World health Organisation (WHO) declaration that 75 per cent of people patronise indigenous medicine for treatment. Non recognision is worse in hinterlands, but fair in urban areas. We, there and then, decided to end that non recognition. We move with the proposal on the policy on official recognision, regulation and establishment of regulatory body. At the moment, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) recognises CAM, but as a second class profession.
We cannot ask for two separate policies in the contemporary Nigeria, just as we see the fusion of three ministries under one Minister, so we are happy that the Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of complementary and alternative medicine commission passed for the third reading in the House of Representatives. Also passed for the third reading was a bill for an act to provide for the establishment of the Traditional Medicine Council of Nigeria. The consolidated bills, which were sponsored by Hon. Nasiru Garo (Kano-APC) and two other lawmakers of the House of Representatives, seek to encourage, promote and regulate traditional medicine practice in Nigeria.
This is necessary because Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in the development of Traditional Medicine, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The United Nations (UN) and WHO have urged all governments to give due recognition to traditional medicine. So, Nigeria is in line with this global call. The Bill, when passed, will address regulation, quackery, advertisement and qualifications. It will open a new vista for traditional/CAM medicine, including foreign exchange (FOREX). There will be a minimal need to import packaged traditional medicine products from China, India or Ghana. This is because the Kinetic energy in Nigerian herbal-plants is high and highly potent and efficacious.
CALLS FOR SPEEDY GOVERNMENT ACTION:
A naturopath, who operates from both Osogbo, Osun State and Houston, Texas, United States, Revd (Dr) Mike Oye has claimed that he knows of African plants and herbs that could be applied as test to cure coronavirus. Speaking in Osogbo in an interview with Osun State Broadcasting Corporation reporter, Oyesiku Adelu, the former lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife said the hope of humanity in eradicating coronavirus and other ailments lies on the usage and application of herbs. Dr Mike Oye who holds double Doctorate degrees in Agricultultural Extension and Rural Sociology from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and Traditional Naturopathy from Clayton College of Natural Health, Alabama, United States said he knows of four plants in Yorubaland that are potent and are possible cure for coronavirus. Naturopaths are trained to be able to respond to the individual needs of patients and develop a treatment plan that includes nutritional supplements, botanical medicine, and diet therapy. Naturopathic physicians understand the art of healing, which is more than dispensing an herbal remedy or nutritional supplement.
According to him, God has not created any disease without cure and cures are hidden in plants and other natural endowments. The Naturopath said he knows about twenty different plants that can cure corona and other ailments. The octogenarian, who is also a minister of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, and the first indigenous Travelling Secretary of the Scripture Union of Nigeria stated that there are treasures hidden in African plants by the Creator. He blamed the frequent rejection of traditional medicine by many people on colonial mentality stressing that God created plants for the use of man, and basically for healing. Dr Mike Oye called on Government to promote naturopathy and development of traditional medicine adding that countries like China, Japan and India as well as Ghana are far ahead in this a system of treatment of disease that avoids drugs and surgery and emphasizes the use of natural agents such as air, water, herbs and physical means including tissue manipulation. Naturopathy is a form of traditional healing that treatment of disease that avoids drugs and surgery and emphasizes the use of natural agents (such as air, water, and herbs) and physical means (such as tissue manipulation and electrotherapy.
PROSPECTS OF TRADITIONAL, COMPLEMENTARY & ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IN NIGERIA
The usefulness of the above is reinforced by World Health Organization’s definition of Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a group of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own traditional or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant health care systems. The scope of practices that constitute CAM varies from country to country. Examples include Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Homeopathy etc. Homeopathy is alternative medicine based on the principle of treating like with like, meaning that a substance that produces or causes symptoms of disease when taken by a healthy individual can be used in extremely small amounts to treat those same symptoms.
TRADITIONAL MEDICINE: Traditional medicine (also known as indigenous or folk medicine) comprises medical aspects of traditional knowledge that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. (Wikipedia) The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness”. Traditional medicine is contrasted with scientific medicine. A World Health Organization Report indicates that: ‘’There was also an increase in the use of national and other monographs on herbal medicines, with Member States responding in the affirmative at the end of 2012. Traditional Medicine is “the total combination of knowledge and practices, whether explicable or not, used in diagnosing, preventing or eliminating physical, mental or social diseases and which may rely exclusively on past experience and observation handed down from generation to generation, verbally or in writing”
COMPONENTS OF TRADITIONAL MEDICAL PRACTICE
• Bone Setters
• Traditional Birth Attendants — TBAs,
• Therapeutic Occultism,
• Spiritual Healers,
• Psychiatric Healers,
• Traditional Surgeons,
• Herb Sellers etc
INVESTING IN TRADITIONAL HEALING – FETCHES GHANA US $ 3 million daily. It is possible to approach Nigerians in the Diaspora to invest in this very important and lucrative sub-sector, possibly after the current crises is finally fully combated. It is also possible now given the fact that Mr. President has signed the Proclamation for the operation of the policy that stipulates that Nigerians must be accorded the Right of First Refusal in such undertakings. There are several other corporate and private establishments that are involved in the development of CAM in Nigeria, hence the need for harmonization of activities so as to develop the sector faster and avoid duplication of efforts. Given the economic factor, it is not impossible that Nigerians in the Diaspora and private sector Chief Executives, particularly the Dangotes, Adenugas, Otedolas, Oba Otudekos, Elumelus, Ovias, Alakijas, etc would wish to invest in this subsector that fetches Ghana some cool US $3 million dollars daily. It is also possible that the National Assembly and all other agencies of government that are involved in this all-important assignment would be more committed if all facts are made available.
BENEFITS OF DEVELOPING TRADITIONAL, ALTERNATIVE & COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE
Prof. Tunde Adeniran (2013) in a paper delivered at a conference on Kola nuts at the IITA Ibadan noted that: ‘’Today, Africa is fast emerging as the new investment destination for most investors. Despite the focus by some on the unstable operating business environment in most African countries, investors are still being drawn to the African continent. This is due to the high returns on business investments in Africa when compared to returns on investments in the developed economies. Because the African continent has not made full use of the vast human and material resources vested in it by nature, there is a huge investment vacuum to be filled by any brave and adventurous entrepreneur. The case of one of the richest men in the world, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, is a vivid example. What Dangote has done is simple. He has dared to tread where others are scared to go. In human endeavour, the high risk usually accompanies high reward after a proper cost-benefit analysis:
ANALOGY: Adeniran, an investment enthusiast asserted that: At a time when Europeans and North Americans shied away from investing in Nigeria’s telecoms industry, MTN came to Nigeria and has been able to use their phenomenal returns on their investment in Nigeria to grow their businesses all over the continent. From this and related ventures, African leaders are beginning to realize (albeit slowly) that their grip on power can only be sustained if they give their people the basics. This is the only way they can stave off agitation that usually threatens their positions, In this regard, the continent’s leaders seem to be moving away from state-controlled enterprises to giving those in the private sector the opportunity to control a big chunk of the economy. This new way of thinking has continued to create opportunities for people in the private sector to take advantage of the huge untapped potential/market that Africa possesses.
It is possible, as it is done in countries that are rooted in traditional medical practice, that huge farmlands will spring up arising from the need to produce raw materials. Interestingly, many of these raw materials are grown in our compounds with our recognition of their usefulness. The following areas will benefit maximally:
• Uncultivated arable land.
• Large unemployed labour force would be engaged.
• Large untapped internal market that can be protected by government trade policies.
It shall surely be well with Nigeria.