The Minister of State for Science Technology and Innovation, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi, has called for the demystification of and scientific validation of traditional medicine to create an opportunity for Nigerians to make more informed choices.
Speaking at the Nigeria-Chinese Traditional Medicine Seminar and Lecture yesterday in Abuja, Abdullahi pointed out that about 70 to 80 per cent of people in the rural areas depend on traditional medicine for their treatment and management of ailments such as malaria, diabetes etc.
The minister, who recalled President Muhammadu Buhari’s goal to eradicate poverty, emphasised the need for adequate education, information and sensitisation of youths on the knowledge of herbal medicine, which he added has been estimated to generate about US$50 billion by 2030.
He further stressed the importance of youths in the improvement of the country’s economy if effectively sensitised on the knowledge of herbal medicine from natural products for the treatment of diseases.
Abdullahi pledged that the FMSTI, through its departments and agencies, will ensure that young people who have innovative ideas and interest in herbal medicine will get full support.
He added that the ministry has been partnering with institutions and some traditional medicine practitioners across the country to facilitate scientific evaluation, as well as clinical trial registration of herbal recipes found to be therapeutic for the management of diseases.
The minister also added that the ministry established the Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA) to collate, document, research and promote indigenous medicine, with a view to harnessing the vast bio-resources and bio-diversity of the country, improve and standardise the practice and products of traditional medicine (TM).
Earlier in his address, the Ambassador of China to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Cui Jianchun, said that both Nigeria and China have already built a solid foundation in herbal products research and application, stemming from their vast, fertile lands and suitable climate for planting herbs.