Stakeholders call for collaboration among traditional medicine practitioners
Stories from Isaac Akwetey-Okunor
Participants at a three-day workshop organised by the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) have called for effective collaboration with traditional medicine practitioners, research officers and other stakeholders.
This, they contended, if done, would promote the mass cultivation and tissue culture of rare and commercially important medicinal plants for the sustainability of the traditional health system, and to share best practices through a common data-base of information and inventory of registered and circulating herbal medicines.
The workshop, which was under the theme “Consultative Meeting to Compile Inventory of Herbal Medicine of Proven Efficacy,” took place in Ouagadougou, capital city of Burkina Faso.
The aim of the workshop was to compile an inventory of herbal medicines of proven efficacy for further clinical evaluation.
It was attended by the Head of Department of the Herbal Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Dr. Kofi Annan, together with 33 others from other African countries.
Speaking to the Eastern File on his arrival from the workshop, Dr. Kofi Annan described it as timely and most educative, as it offered him the opportunity to interact with other researchers from other sister Africa countries.
According to him, this would support capacity building in the various other African countries to provide Batch-To-Batch Quality Assessment in Total Production Quality Assurance, including Stability, Preservation, Toxicology and Elemental Contamination, Clinical Efficacy Tests and centres of excellence for testing and service provision.
This would also require support to designated reference laboratories and the development of a “banderol” system for tagging medicines, so they could be processed and registered from being counterfeited, and training in developing technical proposals for IPR Protection, involving the key actors, ARIPO, and OAPI.
Dr. Kofi Annan said that every country could support at least one state-of-the art manufacturing concern for ethical manufacturing, including developing powdered dry extracts for solid dose forms of the recommended herbal medicines with potential for clinical trials and the global markets.
Especially for those that can be used to support managing the prevailing public health double burden of diseases of the sub-region, including prevention of adverse effects related to herbal medicine use.
The meeting identified the challenges in regulatory mechanisms for herbal medicines across the countries of ECOWAS, and the need to harmonise, categorise and pursue a progressive upgrading of standards that was commensurate with prevailing business, finance and technological growth, rather than wholesale imposition of the highest available standards.
Recognising the fact that regulatory registration of herbal medicines does not give intellectual property protection, leaving room for the proliferation of products and duplication of efforts in this country and across our borders, and the need to address this challenge by reference to a single ECOWAS data-base of registered products.
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