Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The Federal Government has hinted that it will meet with 50 more claimants of COVID-19 treatment solutions, as efforts are geared towards the development of traditional medicines to effectively treat diseases.
On May 21, the Ministry of Health received 19 claimants of solutions for the management of COVID-19. The materials they submitted have been passed down to appropriate regulatory agencies like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) for study.
Minister of State for Health Dr. Adeleke Mamora, while speaking in Abuja yesterday during the news briefing to commemorate this year’s African Traditional Medicine Day, assured traditional medicine practitioners that the solutions received by the ministry would be speedily evaluated.
He said: “The current COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought the entire world to its knees due to its ravaging effect on the health, economic and social well-being of humanity, makes the year 2020 a very special year for African traditional medicine.
“More than ever before, African traditional medicine has a strategic role to play in the healthcare needs of our people, as countries are inevitably being forced to look inwards for local solutions.
“Looking inwards, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) has requested traditional herbal medicine practitioners which claim to have herbal medicines for the management of COVID-19, to submit such claims for necessary evaluation and validation.
“I held a virtual meeting with about 19 claimants on the May 21, to share their experiences. We have since forwarded their submissions to regulatory bodies – NAFDAC and NIPRD, to carry out a scientific evaluation of the products and give us a report.
“We will be interacting with the second batch of about 50 claimants immediately after this address.”
Concerning appeals by some traditional medicines practitioners that the government grant a waiver, especially in the listing of their products with NAFDAC, and fund the sector, the minister assured that it would be favourably considered.
Mamora said: “Concerning accessing funds, it is never easy to access funds. With due respect to all the practitioners involved, funds can only be channelled to what you reasonably have done. You must have done some evaluation and there must be objective criteria for this. It is not our own duty to do that. We rather leave it to experts in the field.
“We know that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is willing to assist in some research activities. I can also tell you that even the Presidential Task Force (PTF), which I’m a member, is also interested. But you must sieve this because of quackery.
“Let me disabuse your mind, NAFDAC is not an obstacle – rather, it is a partner in progress. Some of you have done well in terms of approaching them directly. But the ministry is there for documentation and registration and record purposes. If you just go straight to NAFDAC without the ministry knowing, some of these things will come back to us in the ministry.”