More traditional medicine units set up in hospitals
The Ministry of Health has increased traditional medicine units from 19 pilot sites in 2011 to 55 to boost health care and access.
These sites are located within selected hospitals across the country, including the Police Hospital.
It said that formed part of the national effort to effectively integrate traditional medicine in the healthcare system in partnership with stakeholders.
At the 21st African Traditional Medicine Day in Accra yesterday, the Director- Traditional and Alternate Medicines Directorate (TAMD), Ministry of Health, Dr Anastasia Yirenkyi, said an integration policy was adopted in 2011, which was, among other reasons, based on the increasing demand for traditional medicine.
The day was marked in partnership with the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (GHAFTRAM) and the World Health Organisation and supported by academia, the Ghana Medical Association, traditional leaders, among other partners.
The commemoration was also used to launch the 25th Ghana Traditional Medicine Week.
Three years after the country began the commemoration of traditional medicine week, the World Health Organisation adopted the commemoration leading to the creation of the Africa Traditional Medicine Day.
The day is marked in recognition of the enduring significance of African traditional medicine and its integral role in enhancing health and well-being.
This year’s commemoration was on the theme: "The contribution of traditional medicine to holistic health and well-being of all."
It was a platform to unite stakeholders – traditional medicine practitioners, policy makers, researchers and international partners – in a common pursuit of best practices, groundbreaking evidence, and innovative solutions that showcased the immense potential of traditional medicine in nurturing holistic health and the well-being of all.
Dr Yirenkyi said that the ministry was prioritising scaling up regulation, institutionalisation of practice, integration into secondary and tertiary education and research, among others, to make the integration safe and effective for better health outcomes.
She said traditional medicines had been tried, tested and approved to be efficacious and safe if acquired from an approved source, stressing that it was the reason the sector was being regulated, and that efforts were being made to clamp down on quack practitioners.
She further stated that the integration would boost access to quality health care towards the delivery of Universal Health Coverage.
Touting the benefits of traditional medicine, Dr Yirenkyi said even local dishes were medicinal and helped in preventing a lot of the health conditions the country was burdened with today.
She cited natural cocoa powder beverages as very potent in reducing high blood pressure, and encouraged people to take more greens and our traditional foods to keep healthy.
“Let us remind ourselves that history and traditional knowledge has a lot to teach us in the present age.
We cannot achieve universal health coverage and the sustainable development goal without the development of traditional medicine.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Country Representative of the World Health Organisation, Professor Francis Kasolo, said one of the greatest strengths of traditional medicine laid in its holistic approach to health.
“Traditional medicines offer a wealth of benefits, including affordability, minimal side effects and cultural relevance.
Many traditional and herbal remedies are readily available either in our own backyards or through cultivation,” he said.
He applauded the country for the strides in nurturing the integration of traditional medicine within the national health system.
“From the development of evidence-based policies to regulatory frameworks that ensure quality and safety, from the cultivation of medicinal plants to collaborative training initiatives, our progress is tangible and commendable,” he said.