The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has promised to give necessary support to traditional medicine practice in the State so that the practitioners can continue to support quality healthcare delivery for all residents.
Sanwo-Olu, who made the promise in his keynote address at the Y2021 African Traditional Medicine Day celebration held at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, also promised the provision of a state-of-the-art office infrastructure for the Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board (LSTMB) and its practitioners.
The Governor, represented at the event by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said that the present administration has, in addition to the provision of necessary infrastructure for LSTMB, will also invest in clinical trials, research works, evidence-based healing and publication of findings for traditional medicine practitioners.
He emphasised that the same way modern-day doctors are regulated, the Ministry of Health through its relevant agencies will be regulating traditional medicine in order to ensure that the practitioners practise sound alternative medicine.
Speaking on the theme of the celebration, “Traditional Medicine: Research and Development”, the Governor lamented the rate at which deforestation is affecting the entire South West of the State and Nigeria specifically, saying that the development is seriously posing threats to effective traditional medicine practice.
Sanwo-Olu, however, challenged the traditional medicine practitioners to rise up to the challenge and become advocates of reforestation of the environment, where there would be abundant herbs for traditional healing.
In his words, “You need to see yourself as a powerful voice that must be listened to. You should also speak out on this deforestation issue that is happening all around us. The loss of habitat where your natural herbs, roots can be found should be of great concern to all of us, especially you”.
Citing Indian and China as some of the countries of the world that have been making deliberate steps to save their forests from deforestation as a strategy towards strengthening their traditional medicine practice, the Governor promised that the present administration will provide needed guidance for the practitioners and also assist in protecting some of the medicinal plants and herbs that are currently disappearing due to deforestation.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, in her goodwill message, said that the celebration will further reassure practitioners of traditional medicine that they are recognised by the State Government as major stakeholders in the provision of healthcare to Lagos residents.
She encouraged traditional practitioners to work hand in hand with medical doctors in ensuring that residents remain healthy and have access to their choice of treatment either through traditional medicine or modern medicine
The Chairman of the Board, Prof. Adebukunola Adefule-Ositelu, thanked Governor Sanwo-Olu for the recognition accorded the traditional medicine practitioners since he assumed office, just as she affirmed that more attention is now being paid to traditional medicine within the last 18 months than previous years.
The Registrar of LSTMB, Mr. Olorunkemi Kadiku, remarked that the Board will continue to provide the enabling environment needed to unlock the inherent potentials in traditional medicine to the benefit of mankind.
According to him, over 9,000 Practitioners have benefited from our continuous training programmes initiated by the Lagos State Traditional Medicine Board, stressing that the initiative had assisted in professionalising traditional medicine practice and addressing quackery.
He pleaded with stakeholders to cooperate, collaborate and support each other in the various fields of traditional medicine and equally uphold high ethical standards in the discharge of their obligation to patients and mankind.
“We are at a point in our onerous journey in achieving parity and recognition accorded conventional healthcare practitioners and products, as such, all hands are needed on deck”, Kadiku stated.