The Registrar of the Traditional Medicine Practice Council, Torgbuiga Yaka IV, has called for the full inclusion of herbal medicine in the health care system in the country.
He said if successfully executed, it would offer Ghanians alternative sources of health care and contribute to a healthy society.
Torgbuiga Yaka made the call at a public lecture on the topic: “Mainstreaming Herbal Medicine in Ghana: the Critical Issues,” to mark the Founders Day of the Aponkye Memorial Clinic in Tema.
It was organised by the management of Aponkye Memorial Clinic, a traditional medicine centre which specialises in the use of traditional medicine to treat bone-related ailments.
He emphasised that herbal treatment must be integrated into the conventional/allopathic medicine and that both forms of distinct healthcare practice must be covered under one planning, one coordination and one control.
He said it should be possible for Ghanaians to at any point in time choose one form of healthcare provision from two alternatives, possibly under one official roof or in one public health facility.
Currently, Torgbuiga Yaka said, the choice for herbal or its related practice was mainly private but the opportunity to make a choice was not provided officially.
He outlined what he termed critical issues which must be considered if full intergration was to be achieved.
These are the inclusion of private heathcare providers, the need for quality assurance on the part of practitioners and the state institutions, inclusion of herbal service providers under the NHIS, as well as direct and official recognition for the private herbal medicine entities.
Torgbuiga Yaka commended the government and the Ministry of Health for piloting access to herbal medicine in 15 pilot centres in public health institutions but called for the scaling up of the centres to enable more people to access herbal medication.
The Board Chairman of Aponkye Memorial Clinic, Mr Kwesi Afriyie Badu, said the fact that the clinic had been able to exist for all these years meant they were doing something right and the public still had some confidence in them.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Managing Director of the clinic, Mr Paul E. Nyankom, gave a brief background of the facility, which was originally started by Nana Kojo Ntina in 1970.
He said Aponkey Clinic had treated eminent and ordinary Ghanaians, including sportsmen and corporate executives.
As part of the lectures, the clinic offered free consultation and screening to the public.