The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) have inaugurated a herbal medicine unit in the Port City of Tema, 38 km east of the national capital, to help in the mainstreaming of herbal medicines, said the minister early this week.
Statistics in Ghana show that nearly 25 percent of the population relies on natural and herbal medicines to deal with their illnesses.
The reasons may vary, but factors such as geographic access, financial access, customs, beliefs and perceptions play a significant role in the decision to use herbal or traditional medicines.
Segbefia said this situation placed a responsibility on the unit to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the traditional medicine services.
“It is fulfilling to observe that in Ghana we have come a long way in harnessing the potential of traditional medicine. The re-emergence of traditional and complementary medicine, especially as an interest area in science, research and health provision, is a testimony of the progress we have made in this area,” he said.
He stressed the need to deepen the evidence available, and improve the credibility and acceptance of traditional and herbal and natural medicines.
“Today, as we launch a yet another herbal medicines unit, we are effectively demonstrating our confidence that as a practice within the health sector, patient safety can be assured,” said Segbefia.
The Tema polyclinic herbal unit brings the number of herbal medicine centers opened across the country to 18.
Dr Linda Van-Otoo, Greater Accra Regional Director of Health Services, said the new unit would help minimize quacks, and also encourage genuine producers of herbal medicine.
Current estimates have it that between 35 and 50 percent of prescription drugs have been derived from natural products including herbs. The popular Artemisinin is one of them. Enditem