Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, has called for the gradual integration of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) into Nigeria’s Healthcare System.
She made this call during the TCAM Conference at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Saturday.
The conference, which was organized by her office in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, was aimed at promoting Nigerian indigenous medicinal plants.
Mrs. Buhari noted that TCAM is a very important healthcare service delivery system that is as old as mankind and has been used for the management, treatment and prevention of diseases using plants, animal parts, water, air and other natural elements.
These, she said, have been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as health practices or interventions, other than the conventional medicine.
“Nigeria is blessed with over 10,000 species of medicinal plants of which less than 20% is being utilized, and in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of boosting non-oil exports, there is the need to engage in the commercial cultivation of medicinal plants.
“These will improve the health of the nation, expand social benefits, and provide wealth and jobs for our teeming youth and women” said Mrs. Buhari.
She further recommended the prompt passage of the TCAM Bill to regulate the practice; the establishment of a vegetable fruit market for fresh produce, semi processed and as raw materials, and land for women to cultivate medicinal plants using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for their empowerment.
She also called on the Governors’ wives to adapt this initiative and implement it at the State level and thanked the Federal Ministry of Health for her investiture as an Ambassador for TCAM.
Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, speaking at the event assured the First Lady that the Federal Government would facilitate the wide scale adoption of traditional and alternative medicine into orthodox medical practice.
Professor MacDonald Idu of the University of Benin who gave the keynote address, stated that if properly harnessed by Nigeria, the value of traditional medicinal plants could hit 1 trillion Naira by 2025.
Highlight of the Conference was an exhibition of medicinal plants and foods.
The conference was attended by Ministers, Governors’ wives and other dignitaries.