Practitioners of Traditional and Conventional Medicine Meet to Promote Collaboration
Lagos, Nigeria - Organised by the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), the 11th Scientific Congress of ECOWAS Traditional Medicine Practitioners and Conventional Medicine Practitioners, was held at DOVER HOTELS in Lagos Nigeria, from 10-12 December 2019, under the theme: "Medical Provision in the 21st Century: Which Way ECOWAS?". The purpose of the Congress was to discuss the need for a paradigm shift in medical provision in the ECOWAS region that recognises the role of Traditional Medicine in health care delivery.
The Congress was attended by 63 participants, comprising of the Directors/Coordinators of the national programmes of traditional medicine, representatives of the Federations/Associations of Traditional Medicine Practitioners, Medical and Dental Councils, and Colleges of Pharmacists.
The congress also welcomed members of the Expert Committee for the development of the second volume of the West African Herbal Pharmacopoeia, representatives of identified Centres of Excellence/Reference Centres on Traditional Medicine in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria; university academics, researchers in herbal medicine, as well as medical and social scientists.
The Congress deliberated on several approaches for promoting collaboration with a view to improving access to universal healthcare for the citizens of the ECOWAS region in the 21st century.
The Congress observed a notable evolution of this annual event with the involvement of the Medical and Dental Councils, Colleges of Pharmacists and Centres of Excellence, as well as the positive contribution of the private sector in traditional medicine development in the ECOWAS region.
The Congress noted that strengthening collaboration between practitioners of Conventional and Traditional Medicine is crucial for the integration of traditional medicine into national health systems. For this purpose, the Centres of Excellence have a critical role to play for the scientific validation of the products and practices of traditional medicine.
Following the discussions and shared experiences, participants made the following recommendations:
- To develop a protocol for the evaluation of traditional medicines with proven quality, safety and efficacy for the ECOWAS countries;
- To promote the establishment of functional Centres of Excellence on Traditional Medicine in the ECOWAS region;
- To advocate to the region’s health authorities to allocate substantial funds for the promotion of traditional medicine in the countries.
To Conventional Medicine Practitioners
- To report to the Medical and Dental Councils, the outcomes of the congress, particularly concerning the necessity for collaboration between practitioners of Conventional and Traditional Medicine;
- To designate a focal point or even a technical commission to champion the cause of traditional medicine.
To Directors / Practitioners of Traditional Medicine
- To report the outcomes of the Congress to the Federations/Associations of Traditional Medicine;
- To undertake or complete the mapping of Traditional Medicine Practitioners in the countries;
- To ensure the rational manufacturing of traditional medicine products with proven quality, safety and efficacy.
To identified Centres of Excellence/Reference Centres on Traditional Medicine
- To form a network for the sharing of research experiences and promotion of traditional medicine products and practices.
The Congress welcomed WAHO's constant efforts and its forward-looking approach to promoting rational traditional medicine practices in the search for local solutions to address the many health challenges in the ECOWAS region in the 21st century.