Monday, 04 July

Rejoinder: Herbal medicines pose no danger to public health

Feature Article
Dr. A.N. Arthur

In recent times, there has been a worrying trend of top or senior allopathic medicine managers who get the least opportunity in the public space, to run down herbal medicine.

The question is: who are they in competition with? Is it the multinationals whose products/drugs they are selling? These multinationals sell their drugs and proceeds are repatriated to foreign countries against our indigenous God-given medicines found on our land that when developed and marketed internationally, will impact our nation, Ghana, positively; not to talk about its honour and monetary value.

It is for this reason that the director of Medical Services must educate Regional Directors under the Ministry of Health.

We have come a long way in traditional and alternative medicines in Ghana with a directorate called Traditional and Alternative Medicine Directorate (TAMD) with an able and qualified director, Dr. Anastasia Yirenkye, and the immediate past registrar Torgbui Yaka being a pharmacist and a lawyer at the TMPC (Traditional Medicine Practice Council) of the Ministry of Health.

In the recent past, there was a publication in the news that herbal medicines are the causes of kidney disorders in the country, which I find disturbing and worrying.

Statements of this nature must be researched and scientifically proven with clearly defined methodology from the labs to its clinical trials, to ascertain acceptable facts, and not sweeping statements in the public space.

In any case, go to the developed countries, kidney cases are rampant where households are buying and using dialysis machines in their homes; so, what are we talking about?

Dr. Adam Atiku expressed worry that despite the availability of specialists, some people first visited herbal doctors for treatment and went to the hospital with deteriorated conditions.

Dr. Atiku is a Regional Medical Director in Tamale and should be able to ascertain why patients decide to go to herbal doctors as their first port of call rather than the hospitals.

The possible reasons could be accessibility or financial constraints or they (patients) believe in the herbal medicines. The allopathic hospitals send patients with deteriorated cancer conditions/auto-immune conditions home then or to herbal/traditional doctors.

On Saturday, 21 May 2022, the Ghanaian Times attributed a headline to one Dr. Adam Atiku, Director of Tamale Teaching Hospital that herbal medicines pose danger to public health.

Our research shows that herbal medicines pose no danger to public health but rather contribute to health care.

Our reference is Dr. Oku Ampofo, Mampong Research Institute.

To all and sundry, it has been estimated that we have over 40,000 traditional medicine practitioners in the country. The TMPC and GHAFRAM have been able to track and register over 20,000 and they are being trained; they are being taken through CPD’s three or four times in the year, region by region; part of their training is about the type of cases that need referrals to the hospitals.

Most of the herbal medicines in the market have been verified and approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and some are being marketed by the pharmaceutical shops.

Since 2005, KNUST has been producing medical herbalist graduates through the Mampong Research Institute where the Ministry of Health has posted eighty-six medical herbalists to fifty-five government hospitals across the country.

They are prescribing herbal medicines certified and approved by the FDA/the TAMD of the Ministry of Health.

We, in alternative medicine, see allopathic medicine practitioners as partners and not as competitors.

In the developed countries today, USA and Europe are being introduced to integrative medicine where allopathic medicine practitioners are studying alternative medicine in addition to their practice and it’s vice-versa.

The writer is a chiropractor, Dr. A.N. Arthur

Former Board Member TMPC

President of GAMPA

Chairman Accreditation Registration Committee of the TMPC

 

Source: Dr. A.N. Arthur