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18.03.2008 Health

Traditional Healer Calls For Recognition

By Daily Guide
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Dr. NICHOLAS Kofi Antwi, a traditional herbalist at Kubease in the Ashanti Region, has pointed out that unless Government and the Ministry of Health see the need to make good use of traditional herbalists, there would always be acute shortage of doctors in the country.

According to him, the habit of Ghanaians not having confidence in themselves and always wanting to rely on foreigners for everything, would create a lot of hardships in the near future and also put pressure on health professionals.

The 57-year-old traditional herbalist who was the former Director of the Global Research Centre at Betom in Koforidua in the Eastern Region, lamented that it was very unfortunate that Ghanaians wanted to imitate whites in almost all their endeavours.

Dr. Antwi of the Chronic Diseases and HIV/AIDS Treatment Centre, who for some years now has been in the media, expressed his sentiments when speaking to journalists in Kumasi on Thursday March 13, 2008 at his residence at Kubease.

According to him, there were a lot of herbs in the country as most of the trees and leaves found in the various forests could be used as herbs if only Ghanaians invested resources in them.

Dr. Antwi said unlike overseas where both traditional herbalists and medical doctors were equally being used by the citizens, Ghanaians have always looked down upon their traditional herbalists, although almost all the drugs that have been imported into the country have their better substitutes in the country.

He was however quick to add that although it sometimes becomes necessary to use foreign drugs, most of the effective ones could be found in the country's herbs.

Dr. Antwi said a lot of drugs that have been donated by foreign donors were drugs that could easily be found in the numerous trees and leaves in the country's forests if Government and the Ministry of Health would show some interest in the traditional method of healing.

According to him, it is important that both the traditional herbalists and medical doctors in the country come together to share their experiences.

Dr. Antwi said it is very disheartening that Ghanaian leaders wait to hear from foreigners that an antidote for HIV/AIDS has been found, and then approach them for support although many herbalists in the country have claimed to have detected some herbs that could be mixed together to treat the disease.

He said it is based on Ghanaians' attitude in relying on foreigners for medical recommendation and treatment that the country's leaders do not even want to pay heed to such claims.

Dr. Antwi, narrating how he detected herbs that were able to cure HIV/AIDS, said due to his long stay in Kenya, he managed to tap some knowledge from that country's health personnel whilst working in a pharmaceutical shop.

He said after his long stay in Kenya and other foreign countries, he realized that Ghana had the most appropriate trees and leaves that could be used for the drugs he had studied.

From Stella Danso, Kumasi

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