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Nigeria yet to harness the power of herbal medicine- UNIMED VC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Medical Sciences (UNIMED), Ondo City, Ondo State, Prof. Adesegun Fatusi says Nigeria is yet to harness the potential of herbal medicine.

He made the remarks at a one-day symposium tagged ‘Herbal Medicine: The past, the present and the future,’ organized by the Center for Herbal Medicine and Drug Development of the University, held on Tuesday 10th May 2022 at the Laje Road Campus.  

Prof. Fatusi noted that Nigeria will have to be deliberate in the effort to promote herbal medicine, saying the power of science and the potential of herbs can make a difference in the country’s health sector.

He said: ‘We have not harnessed our God-given heritage in the areas of herbs and what our forefathers have done but UNIMED is beginning to turn around the story and this moment is that golden moment, this workshop opens up that opportunity for us to crystalize our vision and bring the Nigerian nation to understand the power of science merged with the power of herbs, making the whole difference not only to health but also the economy.’

He said the dream of the University to start a Bachelor's degree programme in herbal medicine was halted by the lack of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS) now known as Core Curriculum and Minimum Academic Standard (CCMAS) for the programme.

‘We have always had a great dream about herbal medicine in UNIMED starting from our foundation. UNIMED had proposed even starting a B. Sc. Programme in herbal medicine but the fact that there was no BMAS minimal standard for it with NUC stalled the whole process, that tells you how passionate we are about the programme,’ Fatusi stated.

He said UNIMED Ondo is working with NUC and other stakeholders to get an approved CCMAS to kickstart the programme.

‘There are great days ahead for our Centre for Herbal and Drug Discovery, and with our faculty of pharmacy coming on board soon, they will be complementing one another. So, we are driving the agenda for herbal medicine as no other person has ever done in this country, that is one of the advantages of a being a specialized medical university,’ Prof. Fatusi concluded.

The Keynote Speaker, Director of the  Center for Research and Development, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA)  Prof. Ganiyu Oboh, said the practice of herbal medicine has been the oldest form of health care and human being had been surviving on nature to feed, treat and to prevent illness.

‘The future of herbal medicine is inevitable integration into modern medical practice and it can only be achieved when there is a proper collaboration between government and all the actors involved in healthcare delivery,’ he said.

Prof. Oboh noted that strict monitoring and implementation of regulatory guidelines to cub the undue proliferation of natural products, use, and sales of herbal remedies must be put in place.

 

The Dean, School of Public Health, UNIMED, Ondo,  Prof. Wasiu Adebimpe, while delivering a paper tagged ‘Public Health Concerns and Agenda for Integrating Herbal Medicine into the National Health System,’ harped on the need for the integration of herbal and modern medicine.

The use of traditional medical knowledge for drug development without the consent of customary knowledge holders is not acceptable under international law, hence, the need for the regulation of practice and practitioners, one must be able to distinguish qualified practitioners and practices.

The Director, Office of Strategy and Programme Management, UNIMED, Ondo, Prof. Adeduro Adegeye in the last part of the symposium spoke on the ‘economics of herbal medicine’.

He noted that countries like China and India thrive economically because of herbal medicine, saying Nigeria has been endowed with lots of herbs that can improve the country’s economic output.

Earlier, the Acting Director, Centre for Herbal Medicine and Drug Development, UNIMED, Ondo, Dr. Babawale Olatunji in his welcome address stated that the vision of the centre is to be a study center that serve as a reference center and a standard place for studying traditional medicine in Nigeria and globally which will stand as an effective bridge between orthodox and herbal medicine in delivering health services to the majority of the population

‘Our goal is to provide rudimentary knowledge through training in Herbal medicine to a broad sets of people who will be in a position to provide health care services in collaboration with orthodox medicine providers or on their own,’ Dr. Olatunji said.  

Dignitaries at the event included DVC, Administration and Clinical Services, UNIMED, Ondo, Prof. Adolphus Loto; DVC, Academic, UNIMED, Ondo, Prof. Roseangela Nwuba; the Registrar, represented by Deputy Registrar, Mrs. Bola Arowosegbe and the University Librarian, Mr. Femi Folorunso.

Others who joined virtually included the Bursar, UNIMED, Ondo, Mr. M.S. O. Shittu; Former member of UNIMED Governing Council, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi; Prof. Anthony Elujoba; Prof. Olukemi A. Odukoya; Prof. Yemisi Kunle; and a professor of pharmacognosy, Prof. Jones Moody among others.

University of Medical Sciences

Laje Road, Ondo City, Ondo State, Nigeria.
PMB 536. E-mail: info@unimed.edu.ng
Tel: +234-706-957-3618, +234-905-826-3636