The President of the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Associations (GHAFTRAM), Mr Kojo Eduful, has appealed to the government to establish a new ministry responsible for traditional medicine.
He said since about 80 per cent of Ghanaians relied on the use of traditional or herbal medicines, it was imperative to create a new ministry to undertake more research concerning its use.
Mr Eduful said this in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a book launch in Accra last Monday.
The book, entitled “Fundamentals of Herbal Medicine” is over 700 pages written by Dr Kofi Busia.
Export herbal medicine
He said in spite of the tremendous contribution of herbal medicine to the country’s health delivery, little attention had been given to promote the operations of herbalists.
Mr Eduful said both the orthodox and herbal medicines required equal attention since they played a key role in health care delivery.
“We have a small office, but we provide about 70 per cent of medicines used in Ghana. We need a new ministry to look into our operations and a minister to advocate our activities,” he said.
According to Mr Eduful, if the government paid critical attention to traditional medicine practitioners, they could produce more herbal medicines that could be exported, and also end the importation of sub-standard medicines, adding that herbal medicines could earn Ghana more foreign exchange than cocoa if given the needed support.
The President of Ghana Association of Medical Herbalists (GAMH), Mr Samuel Osei Kwarteng, expressed worry over the numerous challenges bedevilling the operations of herbal medicine practitioners.
He indicated that all the regional and district hospitals in the country, including, LEKMA and Tema Polyclinic, had a department of herbal medicine, but nothing concrete had been done to promote their work.
Additionally, Mr Kwateng said the current National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) did not cover herbal medicine, making it expensive for Ghanaians to afford.
“Another problem is the high charges imposed on our operations by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA),” he added, saying “we hope that the new government would look into this.”