The Administrator of the National COVID-19 Trust Fund, Dr Collins William Asare, has appealed to the government to allocate more resources to the herbal medicine sector to help unlock the full potential of the sector.
He said herbal medicine practice needed increased funding to aid research into innovations for the purposes of tackling emerging diseases and other challenges in health service delivery.
Speaking at the launch of the 45th anniversary of the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine (CSRPM) in Accra, Dr Asare, who is also a member of the ECOWAS Council of the Wise (CoW), said the traditional and herbal medicine sector had the potential to change the economic fortunes of the country when properly resourced and positioned.
According to him, the sector, which relied on plant-based medicine and other natural remedies to treat diseases and heal the sick, could create employment, provide affordable medical care and reduce poverty through wealth creation and entrepreneurship.
He said unlike Ghana, where herbal medicine was least fancied, the practice was the most preferred in China and other Asian countries, resulting in increased value to their economies.
Dr Asare also launched a $25-million Endowment Fund for the CSRPM in Mampong-Akwapim in the Eastern Region.
The fund is to pool resources into supporting scientific research towards the advancement of herbal and traditional medicine practice in the country.
It is part of initiatives to mark the 45th anniversary of the centre on the theme: 'Health promotion and wealth creation: The role of plant medicine research in Ghana'.
The centre produces its own medicines and also runs an outpatient clinic that treats more than 16,000 patients a month.
The Director-General of the National Lotteries Authority (NLA), Mr Sammy Awuku, pledged to, on behalf of the authority, donate GH¢100,000 to the fund.
Dr Asare, who is a former Vice-President of the Ghana Association of Former International Civil Servants (GAFICS), commended the centre for its contribution to plant medicine research in the country.
"It leaves me with no doubt at all that when the needed finances and resources are made available to you, you will be able to do much more. Already, we note that the centre has received very high recognition for research and development of herbal products that meet the existing needs of both patients and industry," he added.