The University of Benin (UNIBEN) has secured the right to supervise traditional and alternative medicine in Nigeria.
This followed the mandate given to the institution by the federal government initiative to coordinate a home-grown solution to health challenges with quality assurance and standard and address specific diseases, through quality research.
In the light of the above, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire inaugurated an Expert Committee for the establishment of a National Institute of Traditional Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) on December 11, 2020, in the nation’s Capital, Abuja.
Director, Media & Public Relations of the Federal ministry of Health, Mr. Olujimi Oyetomi, announced this in a Press statement.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, was named the Chairman of the 20-Member Committee.
The inauguration took place at the 6th Floor Conference Room of the Federal Ministry of Health with all the 20-Members of the Committee and including the High Commissioner of India in Nigeria as well as his Deputy physically present. Also present were the Chairman and some members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Health.
Apart from the Committee, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, members of the Committee include Professors MacDonald Idu and Ehijie Enato who represented the University of Benin on the Committee; Representative of the Federal Ministry of Education; Representative of the National Universities Commission (NUC); Professor Ernest Ugo (CAM); General (Dr) Ali Muhammad-Biu (CAM); Professor Lawal Bichi (TMP); Dr. Chigozie Nwachukwu Nwogu (TMP); and Professor Alphonsus Ekwerike (CAM).
Others are Dr. Sylvis Binder (Integrative Medicine); Abubakar Muhammed Alhaji (TMP); Representative of the Department of Hospital Services of Federal Ministry of Health; Representative of the Department of Health Planning, Research & Statistics; Representative of the Department of Food and Drug Services; Representative of the Legal Services Unit; Representative of the Traditional Institute: The Ooni of Ife; Dr. Bunmi Omoseyindemi; Representative of Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN); and the Director of Traditional, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) of the Federal Ministry of Health as the Secretary.
Addressing members of the Committee, the Minister of Health, Dr. Ehanire, stated that the onset of COVID-19, underscored the imperative for Nigerians and the health authorities to devise local and effective solutions to the pandemic.
The development informed the move by the government to think of developing home-grown solution to health challenges.
“Certainly, there was no solution to COVID-19; everyone was groping in the dark…”
“A lot of other alternatives were offered to us from international and local inventors which we shipped to our Research Institutions and may still be under analyses”.
According to the Minister, Traditional Medicine is being “added to the full array of options available to mankind to solve problems of health, whether physical, emotional or mental”.
He lamented the neglect of Traditional Medicine, particularly in Nigeria where the practitioners had to be “operating from the closets.” Dr Ehanire regretted that 80 percent of Nigerians start their treatment from Traditional Medicine or revert to the alternative where Orthodox Medicine seemed to have failed them.”
He charged members of the Committee to beam the searchlight on the potentials in Traditional Medicine and expressed confidence that Traditional Medicine has found a partner in UNIBEN, adding that “What you know is a drop; what we do not know is an ocean”.
He said it is in this regard that he welcomes the involvement of academic, those who know how to ask questions, research, look for the meaning inside things and properly document their findings.
Also speaking, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, also disclosed that the Federal Government’s White Paper on the Presidential Committee on Restructuring and Rationalization of Federal Government’s Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies had also earlier recommended that FEDCAM be transferred to a University as a Department, hence the inauguration on Friday, 11th December, 2020.
He explained that the inauguration of the Committee, represents an important step in the implementation of the Government’s White Paper.
Responding, the Chairman of the inaugurated TCAM Institute in UNIBEN, Mr. Mashi Abdulaziz Abdulahi on behalf of the Committee members accepted to serve and promised that they will not disappoint the Country.
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