Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, Minister of Health, has urged the Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Associations (GHAFRAM) to access quality, affordable and effective traditional medicines to ensure healthy population in the country.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah said traditional medicine was a key aspect of the economy and could only be improved if practitioners were able to adopt the practices they inherited from their forefathers through research and the use of relevant technologies.
The Minister said this in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director Ministry of Health on Wednesday, during the commemoration of the 12th African Traditional Medicine Day And the 15th Traditional Medicine Week of Ghana Celebration.
The theme ?Collaboration of Stakeholders for Research and Development of Plant Medicine? aims to blend the practice with modern methods of technology to move traditional and complementary medicines to the next level of international standards.
He said challenges confronting the traditional medicine sub-sector were the lack of quality assurance and scientifically manufactured modern dosages, which the public demands of practitioners.
He said many people did not have faith in the herbal preparations because there was no evidence as to how one practitioner can cure more than 10 diseases, adding that, it is high time practitioners took advantage of quality assessment agencies to enhance their production to widen their market base.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah noted that the ministry had developed policies with regard to traditional medicine to ensure safety and efficacy through the research, assuring GHAFTRAM that the ministry supports their activities by sustainable cultivation of medicinal plants.
He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed strategic plan to guide traditional and complementary medicines on the development, regulation, education and rational use of these medicines, aimed at improving quality, access and sustainable availability of traditional medicines.
Mr Kojo Odum Eduful, president of GHAFTRAM thanked the Minister for the initiative to ensure the overall improvement of the traditional medicine sub-sector.
Mr Eduful said the introduction of basic science into herbal medicines at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, KNUST, would help transform the indigenous knowledge to suit current changes within the global environment to meet the health needs of patients.
He said GHAFTRAM would collaborate and champion the development and promotion of traditional medicine, taking into consideration, the well-being of the people of Ghana and the world at large.
He thus urged members of the association to register with the Traditional Medicine Practitioners Council (TMPC) to enable them to operate within the laws of the association.
He appealed to the Minister to facilitate a workshop to meet with current executives of GHAFTRAM and other stakeholders to equip them with leadership ethics, to review the conduct of administering and registering practitioners for the development of traditional medicine.
He called on government to create a development fund, accessible by traditional medicine practitioners for the development and promotion of Ghanaian traditional medicine in areas like research, modification and expansion of the sector.