Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has urged government to subsidize research cost into plant and herbal medicines to derive the fullest benefits from them.
According to him, herbal medicines over the years had proved to be efficacious but the level of toxicity, preservation and manner of dispensing had always been the problem, hence the need for government to subsidize the cost of research to help practitioners do the right thing.
Currently, all herbal medicines are supposed to be tested at the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine at Akuapem-Mampong, however, many herbal medicines which had not gone through such procedures were being sold to the public due to several reasons including lack of resources.
Dr Appiah-Denkyira, who was speaking at the inauguration of an ultra-modern facility of the Kwayisi Christian Herbal Clinic at Ayisaa near Suhum, debunked the perception that herbal medicines were inferior to orthodox ones.
He said what was needed was the modernisation of traditional herbal medicine practice, where the environment including data management, diagnosis and treatment lines would meet the standards of an orthodox clinic.
He said the GHS, over the years, had ensured that most herbal clinics operated according to standards which most had complied with adding that very soon some herbal clinics would be listed to provide services under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
Dr Appiah-Denkyira urged management of the Kwayisi Herbal Clinic to collaborate with the district health directorate in the interest of patients since all of them were in the same business of healing and managing diseases.
The Kwayisi Herbal Clinic was established in 1980 by one Barfour Atua Kroko and was popularly known as Ayisaa for healing of strokes and related diseases. It operated in a wooden structure until recently when it had a facelift.
The new clinic consists of Out-Patients Department (OPD), consulting rooms, dispensary, administrative offices, drugs production area and storage among others.
Mr Emmanuel Ampem-Darko, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the clinic, said challenges in the industry included difficulty in getting the plant medicines due to issues relating to ownership and the refusal of some medical doctors to accept herbal medicines as potent.
He mentioned instances where some doctors openly told patients that when they took herbal medicines they would die and even refuse to take care of patients who had already taken in herbal medicines.
Mr Ampem-Darko said there was the need for a healthy collaboration and appealed to the Director-General to help address that issue. GNA