A 12-member Traditional Medicine Practice Council (TMPC), assigned with the mandate to steer the affairs of traditional and alternative medicine practitioners in the country, has been inaugurated in Accra.
The President of the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine (GAFTRAM), Mr William K.O. Eduful, was elected to serve as chairman of the council.
The TMPC is a statutory body under the Ministry of Health (MoH), charged by the Traditional Medicine Practice Act 2000, Act 575, to promote, control and regulate traditional medicine practice in the country.
Established processes to regulate traditional and alternative medicine practice was begun in September 2007 but the body has been without a governing council since 2012 when the former governing council’s tenure expired.
At the inaugural ceremony in Accra last Tuesday, the Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, urged the new council to find ways to regulate and monitor the kinds of plants used in preparing herbal medicines and to ensure also that those found to be efficacious did not go into extinction.
He said some medicinal herbs were getting lost from the system over the years due to neglect and failure to have them replanted.
Mr Agyeman-Manu emphasised the need to protect medicinal plants for posterity.
“We have to have them documented and replanted, if the sector is to be sustained,” he said.
The Minister of Health said the absence of a council for traditional and alternative medicine practitioners had rendered it incapable of taking major decisions.
He said decisions taken in the intervening period were all merely administrative in character.
He explained that the existing Traditional Medicine Practice Act, 2000 (Act 575) did not provide for issues relating to alternative medicine.
“Under the circumstances, my predecessors issued ministerial directives to the TMPC secretariat to consider regulating alternative medicine practice in the country,” he said.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said when he assumed office as Minister of Health, the TPMC registrar submitted a proposal to him stating the challenges at hand and the possible ways to solving them.
“Notwithstanding the fact that the ministry had its own challenges, I engaged the TMPC on the way forward and I am glad to inform you that one of the results of such consultations has led to what we are witnessing today,” he added.
Competent and experienced
He expressed the hope that the new council, which, he said, comprised competent and experienced people in traditional and alternative medicine practice, would help the ministry to promote and regulate traditional and alternative medicine practice in the country.
“I have no doubt that with the current TMPC working closely with the ministry and other relevant stakeholders as well, the international community will appreciate the good works that are being done in the country to develop traditional and alternative medicine.”