By Ihegazie Hope Chidinma
Senator representing Anambra north, Oduah Stella Adaeze has stressed the need for the Federal Government to utilize traditional medicine in Nigeria as an alternative measure to enhance National Health system and to ensure affordable health care.
Stella made this statement on Thursday in a motion which states, the need for Federal Government of Nigeria to utilize and integrate traditional medicine into the National health system to ensure affordable health care.
Stella disclosed that despite the existence of Nigeria Natural Medicines Development Agency in Lagos, Nigeria and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development founded in 1988 and 1992 respectively, there has been minimal progress in the development of Alternative Medicine.
Stella explained that the World Health Organization WHO through its Traditional Medicine Strategy of 2014-2023 has advocated integration of complementary and traditional medicine into the health system of most countries in the world.
She stated that “while there have been laudable schemes like the NHIS improper implementation juxtaposed with the booming population means that large swathes of the population are without health cover and contribute to the over 70 per cent of health expenditure financed by out-of-pocket payments, further impoverishing the poor and taking orthodox or conventional medicine out of their reach.
“save for paracetamol and Folic Acid both of which have a high availability of 74.31 percent, many primary health care centers have low availability of essential drugs like Azithromycin, Nifedipine, Dexamethasone and Misoprostol among others. Since herbal medicines have proven efficacious in the treatment of some diseases, a systematized integration of herbal and alternative medicine into the health system will go a long way into ameliorating the difficulties faced by many Nigerians in procuring drugs for their medical needs”.
She convinced that the best way to address the problem of unaffordability of drugs in Nigeria is through effective regulation and the systematized integration of herbal and alternative medicine into health system by the Federal and State Ministries of health.
She therefore call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to strengthen and standardize herbal medical practice to achieve integration of the practice into the health system.