NAFDAC Expresses Concern Over Safety of Herbal Medicine

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY AMINU ABUBAKAR A vendor of herbal aphrodisiacs Muhammad Ma'aruf, 65, displays on June 6, 2009 sex stimulants outside the Sabon-Gari market in Kano, northern Nigeria's commercial capital. Men trying to keep several wives happy and women competing with co-wives for their husbands' attentions has led to a boom in the sale of herbal aphrodisiacs in predominantly Moslem northern Nigeria. Women not satisfied with their husband's sexual performance also come for the drugs if their husbands are embarrassed to do so. The drugs come in all forms -- liquid, jelly and powder and are taken orally or rubbed on the penis. The recipes are handed down from father to son and are a jealously guarded secret.      AFP PHOTO / AMINU ABUBAKAR

By Abiose Adelaja Adams, Lagos

The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, said in Lagos on Monday it was in full swing to regulate the use, dosage and bogus claims in traditional medicine, in the overriding interest of safeguarding the nation’s public health.

The director general of the regulatory body, Paul Orhii, made the assertion at the 13th African Traditional Medicine Day marked by practitioners in African medicine from across the continent. According to him, there was an increase in reports of negative health consequences resulting from the use of traditional medicine.

“Despite the World Health Organization’s findings that 80 per cent of the population still relies on traditional medicine due to its affordability, accessibility, the issue of safety is still a big issue,” Orhii said.



    It is generally believe that traditional medicine is as old as mankind thus many Nigerians use it as remedy for ailments like malaria, headache, diarrhea, and other diverse ailments, due to the belief it offers longer-lasting health benefits and also because of its affordability and accessibility.

    Orhii, however, said, long term use of traditional medicine was not a guarantee for its safety, adding that all medicines (whether conventional or traditional) could cause health risks.

    Meanwhile, the president of the National Association of Nigeria Traditional Medicine Practitioners, Thomas Oleabhiele, who was also at the event, said NAFDAC, should not view the verification of claims with criticism.

    “The system whereby we are not allowed to state what the medicine does on the label of the product and yet are directed by the same NAFDAC to state that our claims are yet to be evaluated is a stab on the progress of the practice in the country,” said Oleabhiele


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