The Centre for Plant Medicine Research at Mampong-Akuapem has inaugurated two new laboratories for its Pharmaceutics and Microbiology Departments to help improve the quality of research and the standard of its products.
Dr Anastasia Yirenkyi, the Director in Charge of Alternative Medicine at the Ministry of Health, who inaugurated the facilities, commended the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) for providing the funding support of 50,000 dollars for the projects.
She said the laboratories would not only expand the work of the Centre as the first in Africa but also give a face-lift to traditional medicine, in terms of quality assurance, efficacy and standardisation of products across the Continent.
Giving a brief background, she said although the Centre was established in 1975 with the vision of making herbal medicine a natural choice for all, it had faced several constraints.
These constraints feature funding prominently limiting its capabilities to fully meet the required standards by the Food and Drugs Authority and Ghana Standards Authority.
Dr Yirenkyi noted that traditional medicine has, over the years, played a key role in healthcare delivery, serving as the first point of call to many, however, the practice has been left undeveloped for far too long.
She said this must be brought at par with orthodox medicine and practice to achieve Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goal 3.
“I can see light at the end of the tunnel, and if others have achieved it, then why not Ghana,” she said.
The inauguration of the laboratories were, therefore, key steps towards the achievement of the country’s Agenda 2023, which involved the development of traditional medicine for total healthcare delivery, she said.
Dr Yirenkyi said the Centre currently had 20 products registered with the Ghana Standards Authority but admitted that the Government would have to invest more into the development of traditional medicine to achieve the expected quality health goals in terms of the standardisation of herbal preparations and the facilities for quality research.
She thanked WAHO for the support and said there were no more excuses for substandard herbal products on the market and advised all traditional herbal practitioners to send their products to the Centre for the required investigations to be made.
She assured the public of the availability of highly qualified professionals at the Centre to ensure the required research and laboratory investigations for the efficacy, safety and standard of their products.
Prof. Augustine Ocloo, the Executive Director of the Centre for Plant Medicine Research, explained that among the things done at the Pharmaceutics are quality control to enhance the shelve lives of herbal preparations, and commended WAHO for its assistance.
He, however, said the Centre had several other needs in terms of further expansion of its infrastructure for other departments and the need to work at preserving its raw materials, which were the medicinal plants from going extinct as a result of the current negative human activities within forest reserves.
Dr Kofi Busia, the Director of Health Care Services at the West African Health Organisation, said it was important that centres like the Mampong Centre were supported to contribute to the health needs of humanity.
He, however, said although WAHO had been supporting the improvement of healthcare in various areas, it was the first time it had provided funding to assist the traditional medicine sector.
He said it was unfortunate that the Mampong Centre was highly under-resourced and under-utilised and that countries like China and India had been able to develop their traditional medicine sector to be at par with orthodox medicine to ensure comprehensive care for their people and also for export.