The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye-Ogunwusi Enitan, has called on the Federal, state governments, and lawmakers to provide legislation, policy and funding to promote African Traditional Medicine (ATM).
A statement by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) explained that Ooni of Ife made the appeal in Lagos at the launch of the Pan African Foundation for Traditional Medical Research and Development (PAFIMERD).
The statement which was signed by the NAFDAC Director of Public Affairs, Mr Jimoh Abubakar, said that the launch of the project was to commemorate the World Health Organisation (WHO) ATM Day marked every Aug. 31.
The monarch said the provision of necessary support would help change the negative narrative of ATM and reposition it as a major foreign exchange earner to the country.
He, therefore, urged them to rise up to the new challenge by providing the needed funding, legislative and policy support to jump-start ATM as an alternative to boost the regional economy.
According to him, the current economic downturn occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled the region and Nigeria, in particular, to seek effective diversification of the economy, adding that the time to do this is now.
He said that the pandemic which ravaged the world in the last six months brought the need for the African region particularly Nigeria to look at the importance of ATM to healthcare delivery systems and create an enabling environment for it.
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic had challenged and put on trial the orthodox medicines and the need to reposition ATM as credible alternative sources of therapy and cure for several illnesses and diseases.
The traditional ruler said that the pandemic had created a new opportunity and virile conditions for the indigenous herbal medicines to thrive.
He seized the momentum to seek ways of ameliorating the sufferings of the people to end the untimely deaths through the promotion and development of ATM.
According to him, PAFIMERD has various objectives that will create a formidable and harness the potentials of African traditional medicines among stakeholders.
“I am therefore recommending to the National and State Assemblies to appropriate money for research and development of ATM in the 2021 Budget.
“I also enjoin the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Bank of Industry (BOI) to set aside special grants for the development of ATM.
“I am very optimistic that with a strong collaboration between PAFIMERD, National Institute for Pharmaceuticals Research and Development, and NAFDAC, we shall soon change the negative narrative of ATM and reposition it as a major foreign exchange earner to the country,’’ he said.