• ‘We can overtake China, India, Singapore, Malaysia by commercialising herbal medicine’
• Plans to establish National Institute for Traditional, Complementary Medicine
Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogonnaya Onu, yesterday, in Abuja, said Nigeria has made over 90 per cent success in development of herbal cures for prostate and breast cancers.
Onu, at the public presentation of “Healing Plants of Nigeria- Ethnomedicine and Therapeutic Applications” by Rev. Fr. Dr. Anselm Adodo and Prof. Maurice Iwu, said due to the very high mortality associated with prostate and breast cancers in the country, he had given a mandate to the Director General of the Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), Dr. Sam Etatuvie, to find herbal cures for the diseases.
Onu, who was the guest of honour at the book launch, said: “We now know that in our forests, we now find the cure for sicknesses that people think they are incurable. We said to them that prostate cancer is the number one killer of men and breast cancer for women. Make sure you go in and find cure using our natural products.
“We have not got to the level that we can announce to the world. We have very encouraging results in the work being done at NNMDA. This is why we have great hope in the future if this nation. The future of this nation is bright. The Americans and Westerners know the Nigerians are very brilliant. That is why we are calling our people in Diaspora to return home for us to build a country all of us will be proud of.”
The minister said Nigeria can be a leader in the world in drug production because of our local plants, adding that the vision of the revised policy of the ministry is to make Nigeria one of the scientific leaders in the world.
“This is what we can realise if we work hard, if we can persevere. If China can do it in 39 years, Nigeria can do better in 20 years. We can overtake, we can narrow the gap and then get to the point we can overtake China and other advanced countries. I strongly believe that through our herbs, we have the opportunity to do this,” he said.
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunimbe Mammora, said to further develop traditional medicine in the country, the Federal Government plans to establish a National Institute for Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
Mammora, represented by Director, Traditional and Complementary Medicine at the Federal Ministry of Health, Hajia Zainab Sheriff, said: “Today marks another step in our country towards development of herbal medicine. There has been a global resurgence in herbal medicine. It was worth $100 billion in 2019 and estimated to worth $520 billion by 2030.
“Nigeria has more than 8,000 species of herbal medicine. We plan to introduce a TCM Institute. China has over 100 institutions of herbal medicine. President Muhammad Buhari is determined in development of herbal medicine.”
Sheriff identified lack of political will, support and poor funding as some of the challenges facing traditional medicine in Nigeria. She said she wants to see special intervention in traditional medicine.
Sheriff said the passage of the bill for the establishment of a Council for Traditional Medicine would help in development of the practice.
“We have been waiting for the Council bill to be passed since 2007. This is what we have been waiting for. We need to pass the council bill for traditional and Complementary Medicine. The bill will address the challenges of traditional medicine. There is need for special intervention for traditional and complementary medicine,” Sheriff said.