A don, Professor Samuel Oluwalana, has urged the government of Nigeria, to take advantage of the $200 billion global traditional medicine market to boost the economy.
Oluwalana, a Professor of Forestry and Wildlife Management, at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), stated this on Tuesday, in a lecture delivered during a 2-day Strategic Workshop on Alternative Medicine organised by the Ogun State Alternative Medicine Board, held in Abeokuta.
He lamented that Nigeria despite abundant herbal and natural resources is still struggling to stabilize its economy while noting that the time has come for the country to fast track the coordination of research, development, promotion and documentation of traditional medicine.
Professor Oluwalana submitted that government at all levels must embrace the idea of establishing herbal gardens across the country, in order to utilize numerous opportunities in the world of herbal medicine.
He called for the establishment of herbal colleges, to encourage Nigerian scientists, researchers and alternative medicine practitioners to develop drugs that would not only meet the country’s healthcare but also see Nigeria participate in the global traditional medicine market.
“The herbal medicine global market is more than $200 billion and countries China and India are some of the countries that are fully taking advantage of the industry.
“All nations use herbs, Asia, particularly. China is making a huge amount of money from herbal medicine and the larger part of this money is made from Africa. China is taking billions of dollars from us through our herbal and natural resources.
“Our government is just lazy, the people in government know what to do, but we are wasting our resources. We must encourage the practice of herbal medicine because herbal medicine can help lift people from cruel poverty.
“We need good policies and good governance. We need to establish herbal medicine colleges and equip them with sophisticated laboratories so that our natural resources can be put to good use,” the Don stated.
In her keynote address, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, hinted that the government had commenced work on a bill seeking the establishment of an institute or research centre for alternative medicine.
She emphasised the need to regulate alternative medicine practices to avoid quackery.
Coker said, “The Attorney General of the state is working on a bill to seek the establishment of an institute or a research centre for alternative medicine practice and to also regulate the activities of the practitioners.”
In his speech, the Chairman of the Ogun state Alternative Medicine board, Mr Balogun Nurudeen Olaleye, said alternative medicine had become a global phenomenon that could no longer be ignored in the provision of qualitative healthcare and wealth creation.
He noted that there is wealth in medicinal plants and herbs which had been left untapped for too long, stressing that “Ogun state needs to position herself to reap the benefits of herbs and plants with which we have been so abundantly blessed by God.”
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Don urges FG to tap into $200bn global traditional medicine market