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19.10.2005 Health

Noguchi Institute has not approved herbal medicine to treat HIV/AIDS

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Elmina, Oct.19, GNA - Dr William Ampofo, a Research Fellow of the Noguchi Memorial Research Institute (NMRI) in Accra, on Wednesday said the Institute had not approved the use of any herbal medicine to treat HIV/AIDS.

He expressed concern about herbal drugs presented for testing by the Institute but found not to be efficacious, the herbalists concerned were telling the public that their drugs, had been approved by the institute, and were selling them.

Dr Ampofo, was speaking at a workshop for 50 health experts from health institutions and health related organisations to brainstorm on a national strategic plan on HIV/AIDS Commodity Security (HACS) for Ghana at Elmina.

HACS, is to ensure that the right anti-retrovirals, HIV detective kits and storage, are used and readily available at affordable prices, alongside the monitoring of service providers to ensure quality and right services.

The strategic plan, which would eventually be developed into a national policy, is expected to focus on HIV/AIDS control, prevention, treatment and management, in addition to product forecasting, procurement and finance mobilization. The policy would provide the operational framework within which all service providers, donors, implementing agencies, policy makers, regulatory and statutory bodies would operate in a synergy to make the provision of HIV/AIDS as well as other health commodities efficient for desired effective outcomes.

The experts attending the three-day workshop were drawn from the Ghana Health Service, Ministry of Health, Ghana AIDS Commission and the NMRI.

Professor Frederick Sai, Presidential Advisor on HIV/AIDS/ Reproductive Health, said it was "unethical" for health professionals to administer drugs, which had not been clinically tested in their countries of origin, on AIDS patients elsewhere. In apparent reference to the recent hullabaloo over the goat serum for the treatment of AIDS, he stressed that any medical practitioner who would inject the goat serum on patients in the country would be "indulging in a criminal activity".'

Prof. Sai, expressed concern about media advertisements of unapproved drugs and tasked the Food and Drugs Board (FDB), to vigorously enforce its rules on advertising and "strongly descend" on such advertisers to serve as a deterrent.

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