The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, says Ministry of Health is working towards showcasing the benefits of traditional medicine in Nigeria.
He made this known in Abuja on Monday at a one-day Public Hearing, organised by the Senate Committee on Health.
The public hearing was on a bill for an Act for establishment of Federal College of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine of Nigeria and a bill for an Act to provide for prevention, control and management of sickle cell anaemia in Nigeria.
According to Ehanire, the ministry is working on recreating more attention to traditional medicine to boost the nation’s health system.
“We inaugurated a committee, headed by the Permanent Secretary, consisting of 18 people, where the University of Benin had been engaged to partner with the Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine to develop and find out all the uses extracted from traditional medicine.
“This institute is to take the tools of science to examine traditional medicine, complimentary medicine and alternative medicine,” he said.
Besides, the minister said that the sickle cell had been a subject of research lately, adding that the ministry had assigned a desk officer to handle sickle cell issues due to the socio-economic importance of the disorder.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, said that the purpose of the Bill on Sickle Cell Anaemia was to prevent carriers from massive suffering and death.
He said that this was by placing the statutory duty on the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Health, to engage in and encourage the prevention, control and management of the disorder in Nigeria.
Oloriegbe said that the proposed bills were appropriate and timely in efforts to address the gaps in healthcare service delivery to the ever-growing population of Nigeria.
He said that the prevalence of sickle anaemia in the country had risen to an alarming rate, with little attention being given to its prevention.
“Sickle cell anaemia is definitely preventable with minimal effort and national consciousness,” he said.
Declaring the event open, President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, said that though alternative medicine had endured as a subject, orthodox medicine had largely dominated health care management in the country.
Lawan was represented by Deputy Whip of the Senate, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi at the event.
“The recent occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded of us of the primary and primacy of health delivery and its ability to determine our social, economic and political wellbeing,” he said.
In his submission, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, said that the establishment of the college and provision of legal backing for it would enhance and facilitate integration of orthodox medicine and traditional medicine toward ensuring good health and wellbeing of Nigerians.
Ogunwusi was represented by Prof. Esimai Olapeju of Department of Medicine, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife at the event.
Also, Chairman, Nigeria-China Economic Relations, Mr Ishola Olatunbosun, expressed optimism that the passage of the bills would boost direct foreign investments in the country’s herbal medicine industry.