Expert advocates laws to regulate herbal medicine practice
NEWS DIGEST–Dr Emmanso Umobong, an Integrative Medicine Consultant, on Monday called for enabling laws to regulate the herbal medicine practice and accelerate its growth and acceptance in the country.
Umobong, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Emmamongs Enterprises, an herbal medicine store, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
He said that in spite of government’s efforts to standardise the operations of natural medicine in Nigeria, the profession was still faced with many challenges.
The herbal medicine expert said that there was a need for enabling laws for herbal medicine practitioners to participate in the healthcare delivery system without having to hide to practice their profession.
Umobong said that mutual distrust existed between conventional and natural medicine practitioners in Africa, saying that this contributed to the slow progress of legitimising the profession.
“There is still a lot of controversy in Nigeria about legitimising natural medicine, while a lot has been done in other parts of the world to key into the benefits this sector has to offer.
“More can be done to make natural medicine in Nigeria to be at par with those in other parts of the world,’’ the herbal medicine expert said.
He said that the today’s world had become a global village, noting that through the internet and use of communication, one could see what other nations were doing.
Umobong noted that in China and other developed countries, the technology used to determine the efficacy and safety of herbs was almost instantaneous and without the need for animal studies.
“However, this is not the case in Nigeria. In most of our laboratories, we still depend on animal studies to check the efficacy and safety of herbs before administering them.
“We are hoping that the government will support natural medicine experts by allocating funds that will increase their training and capacity to use those advanced equipment to check the efficacy of herbs.
“Research improvement through technology, facilitating education of practitioners and then funding of the processes of commercialization, will boost the natural medicine sector,’’ the expert said.
According to him, there is currently no dedicated university offering training in herbal medicine and also no separate body regulating the profession.
Umobong said that practitioners had resorted to assigning themselves to regulating the practice without government’s support.
He said that other things that needed to be done would be to make sure that practitioners were located, registered, documented and given the necessary support. (NAN)