Wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, through her foundation, Future Assured, has donated 16 trucks of assorted food items for distribution to 500,000 households in Kano State.
First lady, Dr. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday urged the National Assembly to expedite action in the passage of the Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, TCAM Bill.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in 2020 approved the bill which seeks to regulate the TCAM practice and products.
This is as the Nigeria’s first lady has regretted the low level of utilization of the over 10,000 species of medicinal plants in the country despite its huge need for production of drugs, cosmetics and other essential products.
Speaking at conference jointly organised by her office in collaboration with the Federal of Ministry of Health, Department of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, TCAM. With the theme, “Nigerian Indigenous Medicinal Plants – Health Benefits and Economic Potentials”, Dr. Aisha Buhari said the meeting was timely.
According to her, the intended to showcase and recognize the country’s local medicinal plants.
She said, “These valuable bio resources, often referred to as “Green Gold” can be harnessed for the production of medicines, cosmetics and other products for the benefit of our people.
“This Conference is in line with this administration’s agenda of boosting non-oil exports which will lead to the commercial cultivation of medicinal plants for health, economic and social benefits. It is with the sole aim for providing wealth and job creation for our teeming youths and women.”
The first lady recommended that the outcome of the conference should lead to the implementation of the; Gradual integration of TCAM into the healthcare delivery system towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
According to her, “Prompt passage of the TCAM Council Bill to regulate the practice and products.
“Establishment of a vegetable, fruit and herbs market for fresh produce, semi processed and raw materials for women.
“Land for women to cultivate medicinal plants and vegetables for their empowerment.
“Training and re-training of practitioners and the protection of their intellectual property rights.”
Mrs. Buhari advised the governors wives to adapt the initiative and implement it at State levels even as she called on the practitioners to work harmoniously to propel TCAM forward.”
Speaking at the event, the minister of health, Dr OsagieEhanire, assured that the government would facilitate the wide scale adoption of traditional and alternative medicine in orthodox medical practise.
He said, “Traditional medicine is all that we had before the emergence of modern medicine. And the same applies to all cultures and civilizations. The continued interest and research into traditional medicine is the right way to go for further development of these ancient herbs in Nigeria.
“The time has come to use the knowledge and skills of the forefathers passed down through the generations for greater value addition. In line with the aspiration of this administration to explore all avenues for proper healthcare, the Federal Ministry of Health will remain committed to supporting initiatives that promote TCAM in Nigeria.
“It is instructive that a high percentage of Nigerians still seek and use traditional medicine in addition to orthodox medicine. It is my hope that this conference would deliberate on opportunities that are hidden in traditional medicine to be adopted in our orthodox practise”
The keynote speaker, Prof MacDonald Idu, in his paper titled: ‘Nigerian Indigenous Plants, Our Story,’ regretted that Nigeria does not value what it has.
Idu lamented that Nigeria has been out of circulation in terms of harnessing its biodiversity.
He said, “Other countries are making a lot of money. As at 15 years ago that we were sponsored to India, the Secretary of State to Indian Government told us that from internal revenue alone, they make over $4 billion, that’s selling plants to their own people.
“And at that time, they were making over five to six times above that shipping their value added plants, outside the shores of India.
“So you can imagine, we were given mandate for $1 billion. Somebody’s making $4 billion from only within, and with export he is making almost about $10 billion or $20 billion as at then. You know what money looks like then.
“Nigeria I’m sorry, we don’t walk the talk. We talk a lot, but we don’t really walk the talk. So my own point of interest is to drag the hearts of our people to realize that we should diversify our economy.
“We don’t have any reason to be poor. That’s the real truth, we don’t have any reason to import everything that we need to survive. It’s already here.
“So I believe that if we’re able to set up that platform again, and then we’re able to organize ourselves and organize the traditional medicine practitioners and producers, we should be able to raise enough money for this country to move forward. That’s my worry actually.”
Asked the value of traditional medicine, he said: “For instance, the value we talked about? We talked about $200 billion and that is conservative. I’m serious. From other forms of literature that I have also read is going to hit about $1 trillion by 2025.
“This is 2022, in the next three years, it will be $1 trillion. And you know what that means. That’s a lot of money. And we are not on record.
“I gave a talk at the United National University in Ghana. And I tried to look at the status of trade, or medicinal plants in Africa, my dear, we’re not in the radar. We’re not there at all.
“Many of these ones that are here as traditional medicine practitioners, they parcel their own and send it to the US, or to Europe to sell and all that. But there are no records we don’t have statistics. And a country cannot develop without statistics.
“So we need to sit down and talk the truth to ourselves that we’re not doing well. If we’re doing well, we’ll be better than where we are right now.”
Idu, expressed home that with the presence of policymakers at the conference, the country can change narrative.”
Also present at the event were Minister of Women Affairs, Paulline Tallen, Minister of State for Health, OlorunhimbeMamora, Head of TCAM at the Ministry of Health, ZainabShariff, representatives of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Ooni of Ife, various traditional medicine practitioners from across the country.