COVID-19: ‘Samples of herbal medicine presented to Health Ministry for examination missing’

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The Greater Accra Regional Chairman for Ghana National Association of Traditional Medicine Practitioners (GHAFTRAM), Nana Kwadwo Obiri has alleged that samples of herbal medicines presented to the Ministry of Health (MoH) for purposes of examination and approval for use in the fight against Covid-19 cannot be found at the Ministry.

Nana Obiri, who doubles said when the medicines were presented to the Ministry, the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine in Mampong conducted preliminary research into them and presented a report to both the association and the ministry.

Works on the medicine subsequently stalled though the research institution gave the green light to proceed with processes.

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“When we sent the medicines to the Ministry, the Mampong research institution came for them for preliminary research on which they have written and furnished us with report which the minister also received. The institute gave us a green light given to proceed with hopes that by now it would have been completed and approved by the Food and Drug Authority [but] the ministry has since abandoned the work, even the committee set up to handle the processes,” he said.

Nana Obiri also bemoaned the treatment given them (herbal medicine practitioners) saying the Ministry hardly help their efforts.

“It’s like they have side-lined us. It is a sad situation for us herbal medicine practitioners. So from where we stand, we know that the MoH is not in our favour so our medicines have been kept somewhere unknown to us,” he alleged.

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Responding to the allegations levelled against the Ministry, head of natural medicine at the MoH, Dr. Anastasia Yirenkyi, said “the research into the medicines are in different stages. The first was that done by the research Institute in Mampong. The second stage requires the involvement of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) School of Pharmacy. The work cannot be done by the Mampong research institute alone. We have not abandoned the work.”

According to Dr. Yirenkyi, work on the efficacy of the herbal medicines were in progres until December last year.

“The cost is one that cannot be funded by an individual herbal medicine practitioner or manufacturer. We know most of the practitioners don’t have the money. The government has not refused to help, neither has the minister held back,” she said.

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