The Ministry of Health together with the Indian High Commission is sponsoring a seven-member delegation to India to understudy the Indian traditional medicine system, which is recognised as one of the best in the world.
statement signed by Mr Dan Osman Mwin, Public Relations Officer of the Ministry, said the study was initiated to develop and enhance the local health industry and improve access to quality and affordable health care for all persons.
The delegation would focus on critical success factors for the establishment of a competitive traditional and herbal medicine system such as research, raw material production, regulation policies and intellectual property rights protection. "The development of a vibrant local industry, especially traditional and herbal medicines, is one of the several areas the Ministry has identified as ways it can save national and household expenditure on health care and contribute to wealth creation and attainment of the national vision of 1,000 dollars per capita by the year 2015," the statement said.
It said other strategies adopted by the Ministry to improve traditional and herbal medicine system included collaboration with traditional medicine practitioners and research institutions; partnership between traditional medicines; the scientific community and conventional health care practices to build mutual trust.
The rest are the launch of a harmonised manual on procedures for assessing the safety, efficacy and quality of herbal medicines to guide all institutions researching into plant medicine and innovative training programmes for all persons providing services within the traditional medicine health care industry, the statement said.
The statement mentioned one such innovation as the Bachelor of Science in Herbal Medicine offered at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
The first group, which graduated in 2005, is currently under-going internship at the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine and the Food and Drugs Board.