EDITORIAL: A national call for traditional medicine legislation
For some time now, a Ghanaian Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, who is currently a Barrister-At-Law Candidate at the Gambia Law School, Banjul, has been canvassing for support towards traditional medicine legislation in The Gambia. He combines this advocacy with the workload at the Gambia Law School, Banjul. His advocacy has created a huge interest in natural remedies with his frequent evidence-based articles. He has been working with the traditional healers in The Gambia to achieve this feat. We believe that this call is timely in The Gambia, and we support his call for legislation.
Our case is that: Bearing in mind that the history of standard medicine is actually through empirical work from plants and based on experience and research on the active substance content, that is what Paracelsus (1541-1493 BC) did. Hippocrates (459-370 BC) used more than 200 types of plants in his medicine. We recommend following the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy. The desire to applicable legal regulations in the law on the practice of traditional medicine, complementary medicine, and alternative medicine is an essential wish for Parliament in the Gambia to implement.
We support Prof. Nyarkotey Obu’s positive thinking and support regarding traditional medicine legislation in The Gambia. We hope the idea will be implemented and his way of thinking befits the aim of legal training.
Indeed, the global market for traditional therapies stood at more than US$60 billion in 2000 and is steadily growing and many countries are benefiting from the regulation of traditional medicine. The likes of China and India are typical examples. Also, Ghana has over 55 government hospitals with herbal medicine departments with trained Medical Phythotherapists. The economy of Ghana and the healthcare space is benefitting from effective regulation of traditional and complementary therapies. Also, as Professor Nyarkotey asserts, even in countries where regulation exists, the risk of traditional practices has been reported in the media space. What therefore is the fate of The Gambia without legislation for the practitioners? We, therefore, call on the government to help with legislation.