Ministry of Health

bY Kwabena Adu Koranteng

The National Chairman of the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association, (GHAFTRAM), Kojo Odum Edful, has commended the Ministry of Health for the steps taken over the years, to create an enabling environment for the practice of traditional medicine in Ghana.

Ghana_Ministry_of_Health_(MoH)_logoHe cited the creation of the office of the Directorate of Traditional and Alternative Medicine, the passage of the Traditional Medicine Practice Act (Act 575), which established the Traditional Medicine Practice Council and documentation of over 800 medicinal plants in relevant text books and Pharmacopoeia as just a few such laudable initiatives.

Mr Eduful was speaking at a stakeholders forum for the Facilitation of the full operationalisation of the traditional medicine practice Act, 2000 (Act 575), in Accra.

He emphasised that despite the significant milestones in the development of traditional medicine in Ghana, the sector was still threatened by several challenges including quackery, charlatanism and poor intellectual property coverage and the aversion to herbal medicine by some western medicine practitioners due to stigma, reports of toxicity related to bad use of herbal medicines and lack of information.

?GHAFTRAM, strongly holds the view that the delay in the enactment of the required Legislative Instrument (L.I) to fully operational key provisions in Act 575 has largely contributed to the inability of the Traditional Medicines Practice Council to exert its influence fully in delivering on its mandate as enshrined in Act 575. The situation can also partly be blamed for some of these problems that are eroding the massive gains made in improving the general outlook of the traditional medicine industry in Ghana,? he added.

MrEduful pointed out thatGHAFTRAM was not oblivious to the kind of resources and other logistics needed to be committed to enacting the required L.I to fully operationalize Act 575but held that?our concern is that, it has been almost 15 years since Act 575 was assented into law and only less than six (6) since the Board was inaugurated. An L.I is essential for empowering the TMPC to efficiently play it role of regulating the sector without recourse to any adverse legal ramifications that could set our clock of progress backward.?

He made it known that his outfit did not believe it was legally prudent for the suspensionof the full operationalization of the current law (Act 575), simply because a new law was in the process of being enacted.

?We are not sure of how soon the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Bill will be passed into law, especially in the light of how slow such processes spun out in this country, Ghana. GHAFTRAM is aware of the resources that the TMPC has also invested into the drafting of this required L.I for Act 575 and do not believe that this effort must be allowed to go to waste whiles the Council is still struggling to administer the Traditional Medicine Practice Act, 2000 (Act 575)?, Mr Eduful opined.

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