Ghana: Government urged to invest in organic farming of medicinal plants

The Head of Standard Setting, Verification and Accreditation at the Traditional Medicine Practice Council (TMPC), Dr Owusu Yankyera Benedict, has urged the government to invest in organic farming of medicinal plants to improve the quality of medicinal plants and standards.

According to him, most medicinal plants were on the verge of extinction, while the safety of available plants had been compromised due to the application of agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides.

He was speaking at a lecture on Saturday at the University College of Holistic Medicine, Nyarkotey on the topic “Ayurvedic system of medical practice, principles and standardization in Ghana”.

Dr. Owusu said that the standardization of traditional and alternative medicine was based on the quality of drug preparation which was guaranteed by the availability and safety of raw materials. Therefore, if these qualities were tempered, standardization would become difficult.

He indicated that if there is no emphasis on investment in organic farming of plant material by stakeholders and cultivation of medicinal plants by practitioners, diseases that were treated in the past could no longer be be treated with the same plants in modern times due to the unhealthiness of the materials.

The Acting President of the Ghana Alternative Medicine Practitioners Association (GAMPA), Dr. Albert Arthur, who spoke to the Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of the conference, called for the passage of the traditional and alternative medicine that had been put aside for too long.

He explained that the traditional and alternative medicine bills were prepared separately in the same period, but the traditional medicine bill was passed leaving the alternative medicine bill.

He said that the Traditional Medicine Act was a restrictive law that only regulated traditional medicines, so after a decision to merge the two bills, GAMPA was working to pass the Merger Bill (Traditional Medicines and alternatives) since 2012 but had not seen the light of day.

The director of the University College of Holistic Medicine, Nyarkotey, Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, said the field of complementary alternative medicine is diverse and standardization continues everywhere. Therefore, it was time for Ghana to embrace standardization to help promote the practice.

For him, the government could reap more revenue if funds were allocated to institutions and researchers to collaborate with TMPC to examine natural biological products and raw materials that could be commercialized.

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic where many people have resorted to natural remedies, Prof Obu said Ghana could make a lot of money selling natural remedies to the outside world, citing India and Africa of the South as examples.

The director and senior consultant of Ayush Ghana Ayurveda Medical Center, Dr Poornima Lakkanna, on her part said that standardization was needed in the practice of alternative medicine to avoid quackery and ensure patient safety and care, improve health and safety. patient experience and confidence in traditional and alternative systems. medicines, minimize errors or risks in practice, and improve the efficiency of physicians or health care providers.

Alvin J. Chase