For many Nigerians, the rising cost and availability of genuine orthodox medicine for treatment of ailments, is increasing in costs most cannot afford and leading to many lives being lost.
Also painful is the reoccurring labour actions embarked upon by doctors, nurses and medical workers to the detriment of patients in various health centres. But unlike the deadly challenges posed by mainstream model of medicine where patients are at the mercies of doctors and other healthcare professionals, the practice of natural and herbal medicine as an alternative source of treatment, is genuine, not affected by labour dispute and deeply rooted in the culture of many Nigerians.
The use of herbal medicine has continued to increase worldwide and for obvious reasons, still remains the first port of call for many Nigerians despite its reported lack of scientific evidence of effectiveness and safety.
With the scientific advancement in the healthcare sector, stakeholders have continued to stress the need for a collaborative approach in the areas of research, development and innovation for the growth of natural, complementary and alternative medicine.
According to the managing director of Dove Integrative Medicine, Dr. Okeima Ruth, the affiliation and partnership of the institute which specialises in natural medicine with the Bayelsa State owned Niger Delta University Wilberforce, will create the enabling environment for more substantive research in the use of herbal medicine for the treatment of chronic diseases such as stroke, diabetes and cancer.
She said, “We are here to sensitise Bayelsans on the effectiveness of natural medicine and to also let them know that there is a centre here in Yenagoa where they can get herb for all their pains and illness as far as natural medicine, complementary and alternative medicine is concern. “It is a recognised institute where we take care of people holistically whether it be problem of stroke, problem of pain even problem of cancer. There are natural way of healing because God has given the human body the ability to heal itself.
“If Niger Delta University can recognize herbal and natural medicine as well as complementary medicine and the visit of the VC and the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmacology and Herbal Medicine speaks for itself. This is a reference point for complementary, alternative and natural medicine. Natural medicine has come to stay in Bayelsa.”
On his part, the Vice Chancellor of the Niger Delta University, Prof. Allen Agih, who led a delegation from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmacology on an inspection tour of the facilities of the institute, said it was while he was the Vice Chancellor Academic that the affiliation with the institute was approved.
He emphasised on the need for Bayelsa and Nigeria at large to develop natural medicine, adding that the tertiary institution will ensure that the facilities are upgraded and they will go into innovative research to solve some of these problems like diabetes, cancer and sickle cell.