A Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine or drug based on natural medicine will soon be produced in Nigeria, as researches are being intensified on that.
A natural medicine practitioner, Dr Ndubuisi Nwakakwa, gave the assurance in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday.
Nwakakwa, a Consultant Acupunturist, said that within a short time such a vaccine or drug would surface.
He said that COVID-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for natural medicine practitioners to contribute more to healthcare delivery.
“ The COVID-19 pandemic paved way for government’s call for practitioners to come forward with a cure to the pandemic.
“Researches are on; within a short time, a vaccine or drug based on natural medicine will surface,” Nwakakwa, a Visiting Professor to Indian Acupuncture Training and Research Center, Jaipur, told NAN.
The one-time Acting Provost of defunct Federal College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Lagos, said that there was the need for Nigeria to do more investigation on the potency of natural things it was endowed with.
“Other countries can seek ours, this will create a huge economy for Nigeria,” he said.
The acupuncturist said that natural medicine had impacted much on Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system, particularly in villages difficult to access by the orthodox system.
According to Nwakakwa, natural medicine practitioners have filled the vacuum in such areas.
“Where western practitioners dread to go, natural medicine practitioners are there. It is an age-long system.
“ Before the advent of the western system, our society had been benefiting from it, from child delivery to dressing of wounds, etc.
“Most of the ailments or diseases that have defied the western system are being handled and managed by natural medicine practitioners of various fields such as acupuncture, homeopathy, traditional medicine.
“There are economic benefits to Nigeria as a result of low expenditure by patients who go for natural medicine.
“Adverse effects are minimal,” he said.
The acupuncturist described as encouraging, the level of integration of natural medicine into Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system.
“Apart from various states having boards of natural medicine, a major achievement is the establishment of such a department in the Federal Ministry of Health.
“It is no longer rhetoric that its acceptance is obvious and encouraging,” he told NAN.
He described as laudable, Federal Executive Council’s recent approval of establishment of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Council.
The natural medicine practitioner, however, appealed to the Federal Government to go a step further by re-establishing Federal Traditional College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine or encourage the existing individuals’ establishments.
He said that the establishment would boost natural medicine practice.
He noted that acupuncture was recognised by World Health Organisation as a medical system with good effects, noting that acupuncture could handle and manage obstetrics and gynacology, gastro-intestinal and mental cases.
“ Cancer-related pains could be managed by acupuncture; certain surgical cases e.g thyroidectomy patients are anesthetised by acupuncture where patients will be awake throughout the surgery unlike the other system of going to sleep.
“ However, both complement each other,” he told NAN.
He identified challenges to natural medicine practice to include lack of co-operation among practitioners, inadequate funding and lack of well-equipped research laboratories accessible to the practitioners.
He called for more government support for the practitioners.
“ Herbal products are imported from other countries and accepted while we reject ours,” he regretted.
Nwakakwa, who recently received the Legendary Award of the Association of Certified Professionals of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine, said the honour served as an incentive for him to contribute more to natural medicine practice.
Nwakakwa, also a Fellow of the association, is one of the pioneers of complementary and alternative medicine practice in Nigeria. (NAN)