President of the Nigerian Institute of Homeopathy, Prof Ernest Ugo, has harped on the development and use of traditional medicine in the country.
Ugo said this at the first convocation/induction and investiture ceremony of the Oriental Academy of Natural Medicine in Bayelsa state.
Wife of the Bayelsa State governor, Mr Gloria Ebibomo Diri, was among the pioneer graduates of the institution, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Naturopathy.
Prof Ugo said from the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become pertinent that Nigerians look inwards to use their medicinal plants and get their own medicines.
The eminent medical practitioner charged Nigerians not to be reserved and prejudiced against their own medicines, especially now that scientists, medical doctors and experts from other fields of science are taking interest in it.
He said the graduation of the students, the first of its kind, in the country, was commendable because they are lay evidence based medicine and research in the area of alternative and complementary medicine.
According to him, they are going make useful contributions in the field, as they will train others, who will help to spread the message of alternative and complementary medicine to the people.
He lauded the Federal Government for establishing a Department of Traditional, Alternative and Complementary (TCAM), describing it as a bold step.
President and Research Director, Science Medicine Research Institute, Dallas, Texas, Prof Alphonsus Ekwerike, said in the past, an argument against alternative and complementary medicine, was that it was not empirical in nature.
This, he said, was no longer the case, especially with the with the first set of graduates from the Academy, that studied both conventional and traditional medicine.
The graduates, he said included established medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and core scientists, among other experts.
“Most of them have their specialties in other alternative and complementary medicine, but integratively, they did science medicine, which is the course that unites all health-care practice. It is called Science Medicine Integrative Health-care Delivery System. The significance of this is that there is no more rancour in the health industry and this also brings the scientific nature of every facet in medical practice. It is research oriented. So now both conventional and alternative have met. That is what these set of students have brought. Fear of alternative medicine has no grounds anymore because even in conventional medicine, you use alternative or traditional remedies. The fear is no longer there. Whatever they do, the efficacy of the procedure and the safety of the patient is assured,” Prof Ekwerike said.
Director of Administration of the Academy , Prof Gilbert Ezengige, said 49 students graduated with professional bachelors degree in Naturopathy, 14 with diploma in natural medicine, and seven received certificates in natural medicine.
Ezengige, said they wanted to ensure that people who practice traditional medicine have adequate knowledge and is scientifically based.
He said the graduands were all certified by the Board Certificate in Integrative Medicine.
“We always tell people that they should realize that medicines keep evolving. Even before orthodox, conventional medicine came to be, our people had a way of treating themselves. Yes with the advent of western medicine, our own system of medicine was downplayed, but now with the resurgence of traditional, alternative and complementary medicine knowledge, and now everything being evidence and science based, people are now see the importance of this important health-care delivery system and they are coming back with full force.
“And we tell people that no matter how we want to see it, what God has provided in nature is always the ultimate. The World Health Organization (WHO) is the body that has the final say as far as health is concerned and WHO recognizes three arms of medicine which are conventional medicine, traditional medicine, and CAM which stands for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
“WHO has recognized and is funding it, so we tell those who still have doubts not to have doubts because the efficacy of our products are excellent and then you cannot beat nature. Nature based remedies have less side effects, they harmonize with our body system, and so that is an excellent thing,” he said.
The occasion witnessed the participation of the Ministry of Science and Technology, as well as the Ministry of Health, among other stakeholders.