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Law student wants Gambia Government to advance the development and use of traditional medicines
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Law student wants Gambia Government to advance the development and use of traditional medicines

A renowned Ghanaian Naturopathic Professor, Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, a current bar student at the Gambia Law School, Banjul, has petitioned the Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, to take action on Traditional Medicine legislation in the Gambia. The petition was received by the Records Clerk.

The renowned Naturopathic Professor believes that there is a huge potential for natural medicine in The Gambia if legislation is fast-tracked.

Also, he explains that legislation will go a long way to enhance standardization. He cited how countries such as India, China, Ghana, South Africa, and many others are benefiting from Natural Healthcare.

Prof. Nyarkotey said natural healthcare tends to improve the economy with legislation. The Gambian Law School student, who has created a global niche for himself in the profession of Naturopathy and Holistic Healthcare, is engaging traditional healers in the Gambia, to see how to improve their services. He believes the Gambia could use the Ghanaian case of Traditional Medicine Act 575 as a road map.

Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, who is also a well-known medical and science writer in Ghana has created a niche for himself in the Ghanaian and global medical and science writing space with his prolific articles on natural medicines. He has produced some blockbuster scientific articles on the Gambian natural remedies which have generated public interest in recent times.

A copy of the petition sighted by the Voice highlights key strategic areas and called on the Minister to implement the World Health Organization (WHO) notice released mid-December titled, "Global strategies and plans of action that are scheduled to expire within one year: WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy: 2014 – 2023.”

“As outlined in the WHO notice, there has been the steady and progressive implementation of the goals set out in the Traditional Medicine Strategy: 2014 – 2023 and a series of technical products have been developed by the WHO to support member states in their implementation of the Traditional Medicine strategies. Yet, key challenges such as research funding for Traditional and Complementary Medicine (T&CM), a lack of mechanisms to regulate T&CM practices, practitioners, and products, a lack of expertise in T&CM, and a lack of policy guidance were identified by Member States”.

The letter further noted that the WHO statement outlines that “the contribution of traditional and complementary medicine to primary health care, universal health coverage, and the Sustainable Development Goals continues to gain political recognition.”

“As a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, and a researcher with interest in the legal aspect of Traditional and Complementary Medicines in the African sub-region, I aim to support the regulation of naturopathy and to assist you in any way that I can concerning the implementation of the WHO Traditional Medicine strategy”.

He provided some of his key achievements in the Naturopathic Healthcare space. “I am a Ghanaian currently pursuing the Barrister at Law course at the Gambia Law School, Banjul, who has contributed immensely to the development, education, and standardization of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the Ghanaian Healthcare sector. The key to the achievement is setting up a University College to train Practitioners in Naturopathy and Holistic Medicine. Grandaunts of the college are eligible to sit for the Traditional Medicine Practice Council, Ministry of Health Professional Qualifying Examination. The College is also an educational member of the World Naturopathic Federation (WNF).

With the support of my team, we developed Ghana’s first ever National Occupational Standard in Naturopathy and Holistic Medicine at the Higher National Diploma(HND) and Bachelors level under the Commission for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (CTVET)”.

Prof. Nyarkotey believes that medicine is not a competition and there is a need for effective collaboration between mainstream, traditional and complementary healers in the healthcare sector.

Prof. Nyarkotey Obu, is the President of Nyarkotey University College of Holistic Medicine & Technology, Ashaiman, Ghana’s first Natural Medicine university college dedicated to the promotion and advocacy of natural remedies. With his presence in the Gambia, he has been working with the national Traditional Healers Association of The Gambia (TRAHASS) to improve Traditional Medicine apart from pursuing his legal education. He has won many awards in Ghana and on the international front such as the 40under40 Achievers Award in education(2019) and was inducted into the West African Nobles Forum as a young Noble at age 34. He was conferred Professorship at age 34 becoming one of the youngest Professors in Ghana in recent times.


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