Nigeria to integrates Alternative Medicine into healthcare System

The Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines (TCAM) has held a three day stakeholders forum with the theme: “CAM Practices in Healthcare” in Abuja.

Briefing the press at the event, the Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe  Mamora, informed that it was the first of its kind by the Ministry to mark the role of (CAM) practitioners and stakeholders in line with World Health organisation (WHO)’S recognition of the three healthcare systems, namely; Allopathic or Orthodox, Traditional and Complementary, and Alternative medicines. He said the theme of the forum was very appropriate, as it stands to correct miss conceptions about what constitutes CAM and the scope of its practices.

Speaking further, the Minister stated that many countries e.g. China, India, Thailand etc. have advanced in Complementary and Alternative Medicine in terms of science and technology. This, he said has provided access to alternative health services to patients thereby improving health indices of the countries.

 In recognition of the place of these practices, a lot of professional health care providers are acquiring additional knowledge in these practices such as Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Homeopathy, Osteopathy etc. which have also been established and integrated into the mainstream their healthcare system.

Dr. Mamora also said that the Federal Government in recognition of global practices, in other health care systems has taken the right step to recognize these practices and seek ways of gradually integrating them into the main health care delivery system. He added that the Ministry had taken some steps to promote Complementary and Alternative Medical Practices by upgrading Traditional Medicine to a full –fledged department and the recent approval of the National Council on Health (NCH) to establish same in all states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.

 Registration of thirty two (32) practitioners of CAM with the Medical and Dental council of Nigeria in the following fields as recognized by law: Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Acupuncture, and Chiropractic. The Ministry is working assiduously to ensure passage of TCAM bill, and other related ones the minister assured.

He also noted that non availability of Government Training Institutions for this field of practice, has led to a proliferation of unregistered institutions churning out quacks in the name of CAM practitioners with the titles they qualify for. He reiterates that the theme is a wakeup call for health care professionals to embrace CAM and improve on it for the benefit of Nigerians and our journey to attainment of Universal Health Coverage.

Mamora affirmed that President Mohammadu Buhari is willing to support researchers and all stakeholders in various fields of healthcare, including Complementary and Alternative Medicine to ensure access to quality, and affordable healthcare to all Nigerians. It is also a social contract which he is committed to.

Also speaking, Hon. Dr. Samuel Adejare, a member of House of Representatives, thanked his people for giving him the honour to represent them and congratulated the Honourable Minister, the entire leadership and members of the department of Traditional, Complementary Medicine (TCAM) for putting up the programme. He added that Nigeria has huge potential of Traditional Medicine to make it financially independent, boost primary healthcare services,(PHC) and ensure Universal Health Coverage(UHC). He regretted in the time past, governments at all levels have continued to neglect the practice. Nevertheless, he urged the forum would proffer adequate and sustainable solutions to some of the challenges mentioned earlier.

Earlier, the Director of the Department (TCAM) Pharm. Zainab .U. Shariff in her welcome remarks encouraged the practitioners to participate actively as the forum will span for three days to feature presentation of various papers on CAM practices as well as exhibition at the FMOH podium.

 She also advised all the participants to be up and doing making sure they write publications on their various fields of specialization. A communique emerged at the end of the forum.

Enefaa Bob-Manuel

Head (Media & Media Public Relation