Nigeria: WHO Affirms Support for Covid-19 Traditional Medicine Research

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated its continuous support to the the Government of Nigeria in its goal of achieving self-sufficiency in the local production of traditional medicine.

Speaking at the commemoration of the 2021 Traditional Medicine Day held at the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja on 13 September, Dr Kofi Boateng said WHO remains committed to continue with the support to the Government of Nigeria in its goal of achieving self-sufficiency in the local production of pharmaceuticals (including Vaccines), traditional medicine and other health products.

Emphasising the importance of African Traditional Medicine in the development of the health sector, Dr Boateng, representing the WHO Country Representative, Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo said that Africa has a long history of traditional medicines and practitioners that play an important role in providing care to populations over centuries.

The theme of 2021 commemoration is "The potential contribution of Traditional Medicine to COVID-19 Response." Dr Boateng said Nigeria's listing of 14 herbal medicinal products by NAFDAC against COVID-19 and ongoing clinical trials on them, is in line with the Regional Expert Committee on COVID-19 aim of elevating the standards of clinical trials of traditional medicine for COVID-19.

"The ongoing scientific research projects in the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development and other higher institutions, highlights the interest of the Government of Nigeria to develop and promote African Traditional Medicines. These are in line with the theme of this year commemoration; The potential contribution of Traditional Medicine to COVID-19 Response.

WHO Nigeria has taken it up to support the ministry and in particular the department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, Complimentary in the review of the Traditional Medicines Policy 2007, review of the Nigeria Pharmacopoeia 2008 and the development of a 5-year strategic plan to implement the new policy and the revised pharmacopoeia. It will also continue to provide technical assistance to the TCAM department, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and NAFDAC in improving the quality of medicinal products and ensure the listing of these products in the National Essential Medicines List, he said

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Health Dr Adeleke Mamora at the media briefing said the Federal government will not relent in its efforts to develop local content as a means to finding a homegrown solution to ailment affecting Nigerians.

Dr Mamora said one of the tasked assigned to the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research & Development (NIPRD)and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration & Control(NAFDAC) is to scale up their activities towards the search for a local solution to the pandemic.

He further stated that "FMoH has inaugurated an expert committee as a protocol of evaluation of herbal medicinal products as a way of promoting research and a database of traditional medicine practitioners has been developed for ease of collaboration, research and promotion of traditional medicine in Nigeria."

"The federal government is also working on a traditional medicine policy and a committee to set up a traditional medicine institute which was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Technical Contacts:

Dr Boateng Kofi; Email: boatengko [at] who.int; Tel: +234 706 449 1772

Mr Omotayo Hamzat; Email: hamzato [at] who.int; Tel: +234 803 332 2870

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