The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has called for the promotion of the use of traditional medicines in Africa with appropriate legal frameworks put in place to regulate the trade of these products.
This comes after the recognition that traditional medicine is the primary source of health care for about 80 percent of the population in Africa. The PAP Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs presented its report on traditional medicines to the Plenary Session, which report was duly adopted by the House with special emphasis on advocacy for increased public awareness of the benefits of African traditional medicines.
Presenting the report on behalf of the Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Hon Jean Patrice France Quirin, Hon Dr Nouhou Arba who is the Rapporteur said it was high time African traditional medicines found its place in the health systems in Africa.
"The use of traditional medicine has several advantages. The products are affordable and accessible. They provide enormous floral, faunal, cultural and spiritual potential of the land. Based on the success of using traditional medicine to cure various diseases, some countries have developed the capacity to develop this science and integrate it into their national health systems," said Hon Dr Nouhou Arba.
In debating on traditional medicines, Hon Dr Awoko Amzaye Assoma from Ethiopia said:
"Traditional medicines are embedded in culture so we also have to preserve and promote our diverse African cultures. Another issue is that medicine standards are from Europe so African governments need to prepare their own standards that promote and value traditional medicines."
Hon Felix Okot Ogong from Uganda said the PAP should be on the forefront of the process of promoting African Traditional Medicines while also at the same time encouraging the consumption of traditional foods. These foods, he said, are medicinal in their nature.
"We need to advise our governments to acquire technologies that can extract medicines from our plants. Governments also need to avail funds to our researchers because we have everything it takes in Africa so let us go back to our roots," added Hon Felix Okot Ogong.
The Sixth PAP Second Ordinary Session is being held under the African Union Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023.