The Deputy Health Minister-designate, Dr. Bernard Okoe Boye, is open to the use of herbal medicine to treat persons infected with coronavirus provided they are vetted and proven to be effective.
“Most of the time, the issue has been the science of the herbal medicine,” Dr. Okoe Boye noted during his vetting on Wednesday morning when asked a question on the matter.
Dr. Okoe Boye said he has received calls from people proposing various herbal remedies to the virus which has so far infected 636 people in Ghana.
“When I ask them for samples, some say it is through prayer and a special dispensation,” Dr. Okoe Boye recalled.
Ultimately, he assured that science will be the determining factor in whether herbal medicine is used to treat the novel coronavirus.
“Fortunately, or unfortunately, scientists want to stick to evidence and once your concoction is proven to be safe for use in human beings and also has efficacy, the appropriate bodies will grant the approval.”
The National Democratic Congress flagbearer, John Mahama has advocated for the consideration of traditional medicine in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease.
“It is time to explore the role of alternative medicine and traditional remedies in the fight against the Coronavirus. Some traditional medicines are known to boost the immune system and can help both in the prevention of people succumbing to the disease and also play a role, a palliative function in the management of persons suffering from COVID-19,” he said on Tuesday.
The reputation of herbal medicine has improved significantly over the last decade with the Health Minister, at the commemoration of the 17th African Traditional Medicine Day and the launch of Ghana's 20th Anniversary in Traditional Medicine, assuring that every hospital will soon be provided with medical herbalists to boost the quality of healthcare delivery in the country.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology has been offering a bachelor's degree in herbal medicine since 2001.
In 2018, about 150 medical herbalists graduated from the programme.
More than 30 are currently working in 18 public hospitals as part of a Ministry of Health project to integrate African traditional medicine in the national health system.