Health

FG To Merge Traditional Centers With Medical Hospitals Against Covid-19

OKEKUNLE SUNDAY, IBADAN

Senator Olorunnibe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, in his interview with FRIDAY OLOKOR, which reported to CMM, explains the Federal Government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is no shortcut to the process of the validation of the efficacy of a remedy. It is a long process and the starting point is at the level of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, where they will have to determine the suitability of the remedy for human consumption.

They will look at the chemical composition, then it goes on to the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development and of course, the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research.

They will look at this and then they can do animal studies and then you go on to the real clinical trial.

That is where you now administer this remedy on patients and you cannot just go on and do that, you have to source for volunteers.

The information out there is that we may not be able to have a vaccine until 2021.

So, what do we do in this circumstance? Do we just fold our arms, particularly in terms of what we can do within the country? Do we opt for home-grown solutions?

I did say that there were no shortcuts about this thing and I then gave a background in terms of the efforts we were making as a country, where the herbal practitioners and the traditional healers were coming up with some remedies.

We had a virtual meeting with 19 of them; those who had submitted proposals or remedies that they wanted us to look into.

The recognition has always been there.

In fact, we already have the Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine Bill, which is undergoing fine-tuning right now in the ministry and thereafter, of course, it will have to go through the Federal Executive Council and finally, we will submit it to the National Assembly for processing before it becomes a law.

We are trying to be in tune with global best practices in terms of the processes, and of course, part of what we are trying to do is to establish the Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine Hospital.

Two, we are looking at establishing the Institute of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

The third thing is that we are looking at the possibility of allowing the traditional medicine ward to exist alongside western medicine ward so that within the same setting of a building you can have them co-exist as it is being done in some countries, even in Ghana. So, those are the kinds of things we are looking at and we can then begin to reap the benefits of our own home-grown remedies.

Don’t forget that the bulk of our people, particularly those in the rural areas, are still patronising this mode of treatment, which has been in existence for so long.

In the administration of a particular remedy or a drug, you are not just looking at the side effects, the side effects may be little, but what you look at are whether the therapeutic advantages outweigh the side effects, because every drug is a potential poison.

It depends on who is getting it and under what circumstances, if the therapeutic advantages outweigh the side effects, then you will still go ahead and you will have to do this over a period of time, because some of the side effects may not manifest immediately. It may be after a long time and that is why it takes years.

You heard the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control saying that on the average, it may take about 10 years from the submission to when it becomes available commercially.

So, those were the kinds of things I was trying to explain. As it is now, the submissions we have from these traditional practitioners have been submitted to NAFDAC and what NAFDAC has done is to do its own basic tests on them.

There is no shortcut to the process of the validation of the efficacy of a remedy. It is a long process and the starting point is at the level of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, where they will have to determine the suitability of the remedy for human consumption.

They will look at the chemical composition, then it goes on to the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development and of course, the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research.

They will look at this and then they can do animal studies and then you go on to the real clinical trial.

That is where you now administer this remedy on patients. You cannot just go on and do that. You have to source for volunteers.

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