For many years, traditional medicine practitioners have fought for the formal recognition and acceptance of their products just like western medicine. Their medicines and techniques have been relegated to the background as many people rather opt for western medicine and the study of its processes.
This might change soon in Nigeria as the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu disclosed recently that his ministry was in the process of integrating traditional medicine practice into the medical school curriculum.
He promised a level playing field to all stakeholders in the health sector and hinged the veiled official recognition of herbal medicine on the need for practitioners to go to medical school to equip themselves with the requisite expert knowledge.
He also said their drugs should be registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and packaged for export to earn money for the country.
This news has been received with mixed reactions from Nigerians. While many agree that traditional medicine plays a significant role in the health sector, providing natural remedies for a wide range of illnesses; integrating it into the medical school curriculum they say, shouldn’t be made compulsory. On the other hand, some people laud the plan.
A few weeks ago, a Professor at the University of Benin brewed quite a storm when he announced that he had found the cure to HIV/AIDS in traditional medicine. He later recanted his claim after it was met with widespread criticism over the manner in which he made the announcement and the fact that the necessary tests by approved agencies had not been carried out on the drug.
However, in some instances, traditional medicine has been found to be more effective where western medicine has failed.
What are your views on the plan for the integration of traditional medicine practice into the medical school curriculum? Do you think this would be good for the future of health care in Nigeria?