The statement said the DG made the call during an inaugural symposium and launch of the African Center of Excellence for Drug Research, Herbal Medicine Development and Regulatory Science (ACEDHARS) at the University of Lagos.
His theme was “Drug Development from African Medicinal Plants: Opportunities, Challenges and Regulatory Approach”.
Adeyeye said supporting research through funding and development of herbal medicine would help meet the desire for universal health coverage for all.
Adeyeye said investing in herbal medicine research and development would have a positive impact on the economy of the pharmaceutical industry and traditional medicine.
According to her, medicinal plants are very important for the delivery of health care and can significantly contribute to universal health coverage in the country.
“Despite their widespread use, traditional medicines have yet to be integrated into the national health system of many developing countries, including Nigeria.
“The increasing use of herbal medicine despite the general lack of research on some of these products is cause for concern.
“Investment in herbal medicine research and development is needed from all stakeholders, including the government, so that we can benefit from all that God has given us for free,” she says.
Adeyeye said ACEDHARS is very important to Nigeria because of its emphasis on developing herbal medicine for the use of the people.
The DG said the center would work to ensure that adequate research was carried out and clinical trials were carried out on herbal products before they were used.
According to her, some herbal medicines come to market without adequate research and clinical trials to confirm their safety and effectiveness.
Adeyeye advised herbalists to take advantage of the center to deepen their knowledge in practice, saying that herbalists must have continuous training even where they have had it before.
She said the center would be of immense benefit to those who lack knowledge in the practice, which would also broaden their horizons.
She also called on those who lack the knowledge to adopt the program to acquire the basic training requirements to practice.
The statement also quotes Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, said there was a need to tap into the indigenous knowledge of herbalists. Ogundipe was represented at the event by Prof. Obinna ChukwuDeputy Vice-Chancellor, Management Services.
Ogundipe described the symposium as timely to examine the challenges, opportunities as well as the regulatory approach for drug development from African medicinal plants.
“We have to appreciate that the herbal medicines we have are quite effective and there is a need for us to tap into indigenous knowledge.
“Some herbal medicines are very useful in treating a number of ailments, but the problem is that some of these medicines have been considered as a cure for all ailments which the Yorubas call ‘gbogbo nise’.
“The issue of quality control, correct identification of medicinal plants, standardization of active ingredients and chemical compounds in herbal medicine must be addressed.
“We also look forward to a time when modern technology will be applied to herbal medicine research,” he said.
Also in an address Omobolanle Ade-AdemiluaDirector/Head of Centre, said that ACEDHARS, which was a World Bank approved Center of Excellence, was established to train a skilled workforce.
Ade-Ademilua said the training includes quality assurance, standardization of dosages, reproducibility of herbal preparations and drug safety monitoring in the West and Central Africa region.