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Speed Up Law Guiding Traditional Medicine Practice - Association   
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The Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (GHAFTRA) has urged authorities to speed up the Legislative Instrument (LI) for the Traditional Medicine Practice Act. 575 (2000) into law.

The Association expressed concern about the delay, saying the passing of the LI into law would ensure the smooth running of operations and give full effect to the growth and development of traditional medicine practice in the country.

Nana Obiri Kwadwo I, National Organizer, GHAFTRA made the call during a panel discussion held in Accra by the Ghana Journalists Association programme dubbed: ‘Business Advocate’ on Ghana Television.

The event was supported by BUSAC Fund, Embassy of Denmark, the United States Agency for International Development and the European Union.

Speaking on the topic: “Enhancing Traditional Medicine Practice in Ghana”, Nana Kwadwo I, said the LI when passed into law, would give a clear direction and spelt out the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in the industry.

He indicated that the World Health Organisation estimates that about 80 per cent of the Ghanaian population used herbal preparations to meet their primary healthcare needs and that it was necessary for government to provide them with the needed tools to function effectively.

Nana Kwadwo I, said the contribution of traditional medicine in healthcare delivery could not be underestimated, especially in the wake of growing interest by the developed world in natural products and plant-based medicine.

He said although a strong case could be made for herbal medicine, there remained many issues regarding its practice in the country.

For instance, regulation of herbal drugs and herbal medicine practice remained a problem, he said, adding that consumers made decisions based on media campaigns which sometimes proposed the ‘one cure for all diseases’ to misinform the public.

He urged the government to pay attention to traditional medicine since their efforts contribute immensely to the treatment of patients.

Dr Anastasia Yirenkyi, representative from the Ministry of Health said until the passage of the Traditional Medicine Practice Act, government had worked with the Ghana Psychic and Traditional Medicine Practitioners' Association to license and register traditional medicine practitioners and to ensure high standard of care in the sector.

She explained that the Act established a council to regulate the practice of registered traditional medicine practitioners by licensing them to practice and regulating the preparation and sale of herbal medicines.

Dr Yirenkyi said a policy on traditional medicine was based on the World Health Organisation strategic objective of building the knowledge base of practitioners and promoting universal health coverage.

Mr. Martin Azagloo, Head of Monitoring Unit at the Traditional Medicine Practice Council explained that  the Act focused on the concerns of the Traditional Medicine Practice Council, including its establishment, functions, membership, tenure of members and the appointment of committees such as Finance and General Purposes.

He was optimistic that the LI would be approved soon by parliament to ensure the efficient growth of traditional medicine practice in the country.

Dr. Albert Arthur, Vice President of Ghana Alternative Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association urged government to build the capacity of practitioners to make them relevant in modern healthcare delivery.
Source: GNA

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