Regulating Trado-Medical Practice
TRADO-MEDICAL practice is no doubt a popular medical concept which Nigerians have adopted as a home-grown solution to tackle the myriads of health challenges in the country. This makes sense as Nigerians’ purchasing power has declined due to the present downturn in the nation’s economy, making expensive spending on foreign health solutions difficult.
UNFORTUNATELY, it is becoming increasingly clear that patronage of trado-medical practitioners could be a license to death. Today, all sorts of people claim to be trado-medical doctors, even people with no serious knowledge of herbs. In essence, many of them have not undergone any formal training before they start practising or advertising their products on the media.
IT is no wonder then that National Agency of Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) has in the recent past being cracking down on dubious and fake trado-medical practitioners.
IN December 2017, NAFDAC arrested one person after raiding some stores where unregistered herbal drugs were being sold in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, with more than 15 cartons of different unregistered herbal preparations confiscated
LAST year, the commission arraigned a top traditional medical practitioner, Mr. Olayemi Lateef, before a Federal High Court, Lagos, for allegedly producing fake and counterfeit sex-enhancing drugs.
ALSO last year, the NAFDAC’s office in Anambra State sanctioned six herbal practitioners for alleged illegal advertisements of their not-certified products. The agency confiscated the suspects’ fake products and advertisement materials such as mega phones, amplifiers and flash drives. This is just a few of the cases involving unscrupulous trado-medical doctors.
AMONG the claims they make is that their products can cure many life-threatening diseases like heart, liver, and kidney diseases, but when gullible people patronise their products, their situation is worsened. In some cases, customers are induced to pay outrageous consultancy fees for treatments that are ineffective. Some trado-medical doctors have been accused of mixing dangerous chemicals into their products, which end up damaging vital organs of the body.
CONSEQUENTLY, we feel the floodgates to trado-medical practice should not be thrown open to every Tom, Dick and Harry, and fake operators should not be allowed to play on the ignorance of members of the public, as such an occurrence will continue to create tension in the society.
WE are not saying all trado-medical doctors are fake, because we know there are few genuine ones among the lot. Besides, it will be wrong to throw the baby out with the water, as it has been proven countless number of times that many trado-medical products are effective.
AFTER all, viagra is a product of research carried out by African trado-medical doctors, after ingredients were discovered in a plant in Kenya.
WE opine that it is time to take our destiny in our hands by streamlining an industry open to abuse by greedy and unscrupulous people. We believe the trado-medical space should be regulated to prevent avoidable deaths in the country.
WE thus point out that the government has a role to play in the regulation of the sector, by disallowing unregulated broadcasts of trado-medical products in the media. We believe if the drugs are effective, they should be able to advertise themselves. After all, trado-medical doctors in the past didn’t spend money on publicity, as they grew their business through recommendations. This is a departure from what obtains today, where trado-medical doctors invest in publicity to hoodwink the people.
WE also believe that there should be a linkage between genuine trado-medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies, and that their products should undergo rigorous testing. This will halt the trend where products of trado-medical doctors are advertised as cures to all manner of diseases, without having gone through any kind of laboratory test.
NO doubt, trado-medical doctors should undergo training to sharpen their practice, just as orthodox doctors do. We therefore canvas that they should be trained before the government gives them license to operate. Those who refuse or fail to undergo training should have their operations shut down.
IT is also important that trado-medical drugs should be on prescription, so users can hold someone accountable in case of problems. The government also has a duty to monitor the use of the drugs, their dosage, and their efficacy, so ailments of consumers don’t become malignant.
THE HOPE calls on stakeholders to take steps to streamline the trado-medical sector so the myriads of shady practices pervading the sector can be a thing of the past. This, we believe, will enhance the integrity of trado-medical doctors, which has been battered in the media in the recent past.