The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II has stated that there is a great need to invest more in research and development in traditional medicine.
He said this would contribute to harnessing homegrown solutions to improve the well being of people in all parts of the world.
This is as the Ooni has called on Nigerians to join in the promotion of African traditional medicine, adding that the herbs and roots are of unbeatable efficacy globally.
Addressing newsmen during a world press conference in commemoration of the annual African Traditional Medicine Day, in Ile-Ife on Tuesday, the Ooni Ogunwusi described the African traditional medicine as a major inheritance of the black people, capable of solving all medical, spiritual and other problems.
The monarch revealed that major pharmaceutical companies have produced herbal remedies and are looking for new active ingredients.
The traditional ruler hinted that having the right partnership and investments, African traditional medicines would find broader global markets even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other multilateral organisations are supporting capacity development in the traditional medicine sector and the development of local manufacturing.
He revealed that the progress achieved in the second decade of African traditional medicine include development of policy framework in eight African countries, community mobilisation aimed at raising awareness on the value of traditional medicine and building capacities of researchers, traditional health practitioners and regulatory authorities, through training in partnership with WHO and Centre for Disease Control.
In his words, “in 2020, a regional expert advisory committee for COVID-19 was launched. The objective was to accelerate the pace of research by supporting countries to collaborate on clinical trials of traditional medicine in line with international standards.”
The Ooni also revealed that as a custodian of African tradition, he responded to the COVID-19 preventive measures by building locally fabricated fumigators which used the fogging method of dispensing disinfectant to disinfect the environment.
“Recently, as part of my COVID-19 response, promising traditional therapies have emerged and are still emerging. The Ministry of Health through NAFDAC has approved over 40 herbal products for the management of symptoms of COVID-19 and immune boosters.
“Traditional health practitioners are at the forefront in COVID-19 preventive measures, management of symptoms of COVID-19 and referral of patients for timely care. With COVID-19, there has been improved awareness of the values of traditional medicine.
“In addition, I produced herbal remedies to boost immunity, manage symptoms of viral infections and detoxify the body. These herbal drugs have been tried and tested and are among the 40 drugs registered by NAFDAC in 2020,” he stated.
On the level of success recorded through his advocacy over the years, Ooni Ogunwusi lauded the Federal Government for approving the Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Bill 2020 for onward transmission to the National Assembly and its speedy passage to law.
“We are waiting for the last process of making the important bill which has scaled through the first and second reading in the National Assembly a law in Nigeria for the betterment of all,” he disclosed.
The African Traditional Medicine Day is commemorated annually on the 31st of August.