The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on Nigeria and other countries in the region to increase public-private partnerships and investments to scale-up local manufacturing of traditional medicine products.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, made the call in her statement to mark this year’s African Traditional Medicine Day. The theme of this year’s commemoration is ‘Local Manufacturing of Traditional Medicine Products in the African Region’.
It highlights the need to promote and enhance local manufacturing for better access to quality-assured medicines.
Dr Moeti said scaling-up local manufacturing was key to contributing to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines for all.
“This will require stronger regulatory systems in countries to guard against low-quality medicines, and ensure locally manufactured traditional medicine products and raw plant materials meet international standards of quality, safety and efficacy. Such medicines would conform to WHO criteria for registration and selection for inclusion in national essential medicines lists,” she said.
The WHO Regional Director said the number of countries with national traditional medicine policies has risen steadily since 2000 and now totals 40 countries in the African Region, adding that seventeen countries are manufacturing traditional medicine products from locally-cultivated medicinal plants, while 14 allow marketing of some traditional medicine products to treat priority communicable and non-communicable diseases. Eight countries have included these products in their national essential medicines lists, she said.
Meanwhile Minister of State for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has said that the recognition of three healthcare systems by the WHO namely; conventional, traditional and complementary, is a wakeup call for Africans to also begin to review our traditional healthcare system for untapped benefits, as Indians and Chinese have done, to derive benefits for the world.