The First Lady Dr Aisha Buhari has called for the integration of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) into Nigeria’s healthcare system.
Sh made the call during the TCAM Conference at the International Conference Centre in Abuja weekend.
The conference, organised by her office in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, was aimed at promoting Nigerian Indigenous Medicinal Plants.
She said TCAM is a very important healthcare service delivery system that is as old as mankind and has been used for the management, treatment and prevention of diseases using plants, animal parts, water, air and other natural elements. These, she said, have been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as health practices or interventions, other than the conventional medicine.
“Nigeria is blessed with over 10,000 species of medicinal plants of which less than 20% is being utilized, and in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda of boosting non-oil exports, there is the need to engage in the commercial cultivation of medicinal plants,” she said.
She said this would improve the health of the nation, expand social benefits, and provide wealth and jobs for our teeming youth and women.
The First Lady recommended the prompt passage of the TCAM Bill to regulate the practice, the establishment of a vegetable fruit market for fresh produce, semi processed and as raw materials, and a land for women to cultivate medicinal plants using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) for their empowerment.
She also called on the wives of governors across the country to adopt the initiative for implementation at the state level, and thanked the Federal Ministry of Health for investing her as an Ambassador for TCAM.
Also speaking, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the federal government would facilitate the wide scale adoption of traditional and alternative medicine into orthodox medical practice.
Professor MacDonald Idu of the University of Benin who gave the keynote address, said that if properly harnessed by Nigeria, the value of traditional medicinal plants could hit 1 trillion Naira by 2025.
Highlight of the Conference was an exhibition of medicinal plants and foods. The conference was attended by ministers, wives of governors and other dignitaries.