Herbal and alternative medicine practitioners in the country have been encouraged to work towards finding a cure for cancer through medicinal plants.
Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, gave the charge yesterday in Abuja at a stakeholders meeting on community- based medicinal plant research project on the treatment of cancer in Nigeria.
He said research had begun in Ogun, Edo, Kano, Bauchi and Nasarawa states as well as the FCT to discover the available indigenous package of forest products used for the treatment of cancer in South west Nigeria.
Represented by the Director, Human Resource Management in the ministry, Halad Keana, the minister said that the roundtable was to brief the practitioners on activities that had been carried out so far, as well as showcase the inventory of practitioners that the researchers were able to obtain in the course of the project.
At the event, an Associate Professor at the Department of Pharmacology, Therapeutics & Toxicology (PTT), Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Dr. Abidemi Akindele, urged the Federal Government to come up with policies and legal framework for herbal medicine production in the country.
Akindele stressed the need to register traditional medicines, using the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
He said herbal medicines must be subjected to clinical trials so that doctors would be convinced about their efficacy and safety.
The don also stressed the need to build capacity of traditional medicines practitioners and researchers to be able to develop cure for malaria, sickle cell anemia and HIV, among others.