Health News

Prof Iwu advocates mainstreaming of traditional medicine into healthcare system

…gets NAFDAC’s approval for clinical trial

By Hassan Zaggi

The one-time Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice  Iwu, has advocated the mainstreaming of traditional medicine into the Nigeria’s health care system.

Iwu, a Professor of Pharmacognosy,  stated this while delivering his keynote address on the commemoration of the 2021, African Traditional Medicine(ATM), organized by the Federal Ministry of Health, in Abuja.  

He regretted that, “the lack of effective communication between traditional medicine practitioners and patients; use of poor quality, adulterated or counterfeit products; unqualified practitioners; misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to use effective conventional treatments when necessary.

“Amongst others were exposure to misleading or unreliable information; and  direct adverse events, side effects or unwanted treatment interactions.”

He, however, disclosed that he had obtained the approval of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control’s (NAFDAC) approval to conduct clinical trials on one of his potential drugs –artemisinin for COVID-19.

“We have also obtained all necessary ethics approvals. The primary objective is to observe and evaluate safety of Artemisinin, a herbal supplement on COVID-19 subjects.

“While the secondary objective is to observe and evaluate efficacy of Artemisinin- a herbal supplement on COVID- 19 subjects,” he noted. 

According to Iwu, there are three essential elements of traditional medicines, which the country has like the active medicinal substance, plants, soil, insects or animal parts. 

“The spiritual forces, including benevolent forces, ancestors, the gods and God; and the human spirit which includes the healer and the patient himself,” he explained. 

He further noted that: “Plants also perform other very important functions in the healing processes. As sources of vital energy, and in some sense a participatory entity, rather than a lifeless object used in healing. Traditional African medicine therefore presents an enigma to most western trained minds.” 

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