Alternative medical practitioners frown at FG’s approach to COVID-19 management

The Federal and state governments have been advised to explore the field of alternative medicine in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic in the country rather than paying lip service to ending the spread.

Alternative medicine practitioners under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Physicians of Natural Medicine (NAPNM), made this call in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Monday.

Expressing displeasure on the poor approach by the government to the management of COVID-19 cases in the country, at a press conference, on Monday, the Vice-President, NAPNM, Professor Cyril Omisande, said the outbreak of the virus has made the call for synergy between orthodox and alternative medicine most relevant than ever.

Omisande said: “It is shocking that while countries like United Kingdom, South Africa, India, China, Ghana and Zambia are widening the gap of opportunities that are available in medicine by accessing alternative methods of treatment and cure, Nigeria is pretending to be adamant.

“No fewer than 70 per cent of Nigerians use herbs and roots to cure themselves than they access orthodox medicine. Some of our elitists stay at home to take treatment using herbal medicine and preparations. Except late Professor Olikoye Ransom-Kuti, former Minister of Health, no other health minister considered alternative medicine. While our government think that we don’t need it, other countries are developing this important sector at a fast pace.

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“We are imploring governments at all levels to consider the clinical trials of our products for COVID-19. We are missing a lot by turning the other way. Homeopathic and alternative remedies are potent and good for health. On the other hand, it has tremendous economic benefits for the nation. Imagine the rate at which people were engaging in medical tourism to India and China before the lockdown occasioned by coronavirus. Many of them sought homeopathic remedies abroad. Why can’t we domesticate it to enlarge the hope of our people?”

The Registrar, NAPNM, Dr Adedamola Bank-Kadejo, also urged the government not to close its eyes to the option provided by alternative medicine practitioners in the country while considering the usage of the Madagascar preparation.

Bank-Kadejo,said: “Like the Madagascar portion, our products can also be subjected to clinical trial for the treatment of the virus. The bureaucratic nature of government has made it difficult for us in Nigeria.”

A senior member of the association, Professor Idowu Ogunkoya noted that the government should consult the right practitioners in joining forces with other stakeholders in the health sector to proffer substantial solution to curtail the deadly disease.

“My advice to the government is that they should be serious about their readiness to involve the alternative medicine practitioners rather than politicising everything,” he added.

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