The Medical Herbalist Interns and National Service Personnel Association- Ghana (MHINSPA) is a unique association incorporated under Ghana Association of Medical Herbalist (GAMH) formed in 2020 to bring together BSc. Herbal Medicine graduates who are National Service Personnel and interns at the Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR) and Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital, Akuapem-Mampong.
The association seeks among many things to advocate and address the needs and challenges faced by both Service Personnel and Interns of Herbal Medicine profession, educate the public on the rational use of Herbal Medicines in the country and beyond and to project the views and image of the association on the local, national and international level.
MEDICAL HERBALIST TRAINING
Medical Herbalists are health- care professionals with the ability to make a definite diagnosis based on patient history, physical examination and presenting condition; analyzing them through syndrome differentiation, clinical investigations including diagnostic imaging and making a treatment plan based on validated Herbal Medicines.
As part of their training, they pursue a degree program at the college of Health Sciences at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) to acquire relevant skills in Medicine or Clinical Sciences, Herbal Medicine Practice, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Social Sciences and business-related courses.
After completion of the four-year degree program, these graduates undergo internship period of two (2) years in three rotation:
- A year experience at Medical Centres with Herbal Medicine units, Research Centres, academic institutions or Regulatory centres. This is facilitated by the National Service Scheme.
- Six months period at Centre for Plant Medicine Research (CPMR), Mampong-Akuapem to learn Diagnostic techniques, microbiology, laboratory practices, consulting, Drug analysis, production and dispensing of Herbal Medicines.
- Finally, another six months period at Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital to expose these graduates to practical patient care in all clinical disciplines, Districts and sub district health care systems, appropriate referral of patients especially in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry and surgical emergencies especially where patients are at risk.
A professional exam is then organized after the internship followed by an induction service to have them officially recognized as Medical Herbalist.
Graduates after completion of their degree program faces various challenges pertaining to their National Service postings and Internship at the Centre for Plant Medicine Research and Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital.
Key among these challenges include National Service posting irregularities, lack of allowance for interns after their National service and struggle for accommodation during their internship periods. These challenges have made the internship period unattractive to most graduates hence they branch to other fields of study.
The association is making a humble call to the general Public, Media Houses, Herbal Medicine fraternity and the Government (Ministry of Health) to assist the association seek redress and solutions to the above. The challenge of allowance at Akwapim Mampong for example if solved, will increase the number of interns who present themselves for training and a subsequent increase in the number of medical herbalists to serve the nation and also improve herbal medicine practice in Ghana.
Writer: Cephas Kwaku Debrah
(The writer is a member of the Public Relation Committee of the Medical Herbalist Interns and National Service Personnel Association-Ghana).
Email: [email protected]