Health News of Friday, 18 July 2014
Dr Kofi Annan, Head of Department of Herbal Medicine at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), has observed that herbal medicines have the potential to improve Ghana’s economy in terms of job creation.
He stressed the need for stakeholders and government to come out with policies that would attract more traditional herbal practitioners in the industry, to help reduce unemployment in the country.
Dr Annan made the observation in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), during a field visit and demonstration by some Traditional Herbal Practitioners in Sunyani.
They were selected from the Tano South and North districts, and the Asunafo North and South Municipalities all in the Brong-Ahafo Region.
It was under the theme: “Training in Quality Herbal Products Manufacturing and Entrepreneurship for Improved Production and Competitiveness.”
Dr Annan said the training will introduce the practitioners to entrepreneurial skills to become innovative with managerial skills to control inflows and outflows.
He said major challenges facing the practitioners include the use of herbicides and weedicides, by both farmers and the public, creating environmental hazards as well.
Dr Annan said the use of herbicides has led to the loss of most plant species with medicinal values, as well as putting unsuspecting people who patronized medicinal plants including poisioning.
He, therefore, appealed to government to discourage the use of herbicides, weedicides and other dangerous pesticides that have the potential to bio-accommodation in the plants to cause poisoning of users of herbal medicine.
Baffour Agyapong, President of the Brong-Ahafo Traditional Healers Association (BATHA), said the training is to enable practitioners to have confidence in their operations and produce authentic herbal medicines without adverse effects on users.
He was optimistic that the training would have tremendous improvement on their operations with regard to the storage and packaging of their products on the toxicity and efficacy of herbal medicine.
Baffour Agyapong, who is also the Executive Director of Opam Ago Herbal Centre at Bechem in the Tano South District, said the practical demonstration on the field had been conducted at Berekum and Techiman.
During an open forum, the practitioners expressed appreciation for the training, saying that it has impacted positively on their operations.
Some of them appealed to the Department of Herbal Medicine, KNUST, for assistance to acquire seedlings used in their operations.
The training was initiated by the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET), and sponsored by the Skills Development Fund (SDF) in collaboration with the Department of Herbal Medicine, KNUST for Ghana National Traditional Healers Association.
About 100 traditional healers from Greater Accra, Eastern and Brong-Ahafo Regions are participating in the training.
The 30-day training in phases from June 30 to August 15, this year, involves teaching and practical work to enhance their skills to improve upon their products to make them competitive on the market.