The president of the Ghana Association of Medical Herbalist (GAMH), Dr Sandra Ashon, says Ghana needs to create a simple and a cost-effective protocol for the registration of locally produced herbal medicines.
She said that will allow for the standardisation and registration of the many herbal medicines produced for varied disease conditions and reduce the cost of care for most non communicable diseases.
Commenting on the recent public outcry on the high cost of kidney treatment, Dr Ashon said some herbal practitioners had cures to health conditions, but the medicines were not registered because of the cumbersome structure and cost of registration protocols.
“In Ghana, we have so many medications for kidney treatment, but the registration of these products has been impeded by inadequate infrastructure, education, logistics and high fees charged during clinical trials,” she said, adding that despite the challenges, there were some traditional medications that had undergone safety tests and could protect and help with kidney health.
Dr Ashon said presently, there were herbal medicines used by traditional healers for people with end stage renal failure on dialysis, but those medicines were yet to be approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).
She said herbal medicines imported into the country were easily accepted by the FDA because they met the safety and toxicity protocols and passed clinical trials.
She stressed the need for the country to invest in herbal medicine research to help find simple, but effective traditional medications for lifelong health conditions like kidney infections.
The kidney is located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine.
Healthy kidneys filter about a half cup of blood every minute, removing waste and extra water to make urine.
The urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder through two thin tubes of muscle called ureters, one on each side of the bladder.
Medical experts say diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Signs of kidney problems are weight loss and poor appetite, swollen ankles, feet, or hands, due to water retention, shortness of breath, blood or protein in urine.
If the kidneys are failing, they may retain fluids, and harmful waste can build up in the body. The urine may also include excess protein, toxins, and blood.
This can cause the urine to change colour, becoming a darker tan, brown, or even slightly red.