African Traditional Medicine Day

Traditional medicine has been saving lives for centuries but has recently been pushed to the background in the mainstream healthcare system.

This is mainly due to it not being standardized and regulated, thus it’s gradually becoming a neglected aspect of medicine.

In Africa, before the existence of modern medicine, we have used this form of medicine to protect and restore health. Interestingly, it is still used significantly in rural areas some of which lack health facilities.

According to Achalu I.  traditional medicine refers to health practices, methods, knowledge, beliefs that uses plant, animal or mineral based medicine, spiritual or manual techniques to treat, diagnose and prevent illness or disease.

There are two major sub-groups under African Traditional Medicine;

  • The Herbalist: They specialize in using drugs in form of herbs to treat local disease effectively.
  • Diviners: they believe in the intervention of spirits to cure disease

Others are traditional healers who believe in the power of ancestors to heal, the traditional birth attendants, bone setters, etc.

Problems Affecting African Traditional Medicine

As effective as this for of medicine can be, most persons are against it due to reasons such as:

  • Unprofessional attitude of the practitioners
  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor treatment facilities
  • Multiple complications/ side effects

Possible Solutions

Statistics in Nigeria have shown that majority of the population still live in the rural areas and get to be attended to by traditional medicine practitioners.

Traditional African societies remain deeply connected to some ancient cultural practices and these traditional healers are seen as reliable.

In line with this there is a need to seek ways to incorporate this alternative system into the mainstream health system. China has done something similar and achieved remarkable results.

Training of the traditional practitioners while putting up strategies to encourage safe health practices is very important.

Funding research to scientifically prove the efficacy of such herbal cures can take these remedies to a global scale and bring economic benefits to such areas.

WHO is halfway through implementing the strategy 2014-2023 and their aim is to develop standards based on reliable information.

This is to support its member states to provide safe, qualified and effective traditional and contemporary medical services and their appropriate integration into health system.

New drugs can definitely emerge from African Traditional Medicine to become global brands.

Happy African Traditional Medicine Day

Africa To the World

Oluchi Goodness