No fewer than 58 herbal practitioners have so far made submissions on claims for COVID-19 cure in the country.
To look into their claims, the Federal Ministry of Health has inaugurated a standing experts committee to develop protocols for the evaluation.
Inaugurating the committee in Abuja, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, said 58 herbal practitioners have so far made submissions on claims for COVID-19.
The 17-member committee is drawn from various stakeholders in the field of research.
He said the inauguration followed meetings with traditional medicine practitioners and identified claimants of remedies for the management of COVID-19.
He said: “It is our desire to support these claimants in the process of evaluating these products with a view to finding a local solution to the menace of COVID-19 and other common ailments.
“This informed the need to constitute a standing expert committee to screen these claims to identify those products that could be recommended for further evaluation with the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and their necessary clinical trials.”
Dr Mamora said the terms of reference of the expert screening committee include: compiling a list of claimants with herbal medicinal products for the management of various ailments; develop appropriate protocols for evaluation of these claims and for other ailments that are of top priority like HIV/AIDS, malaria, diabetes, hypertension and sickle cell anaemia; and also screen all claimants with the use of developed protocols and identify those that may be forwarded to NAFDAC.
Other areas are to provide protocols for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and identify research institutes for clinical trials and invite investors for possible commercialization among others.
Chairman of the newly inaugurated standing expert committee, Prof. Mac-Donald Idu, promised that the committee would carry its assignment to the letter.
He said lack of coordination and synergy among practitioners, dearth of data, as well as requisite funding have hampered the utilization of traditional medicine.
Dr Robert Uzu, one of the herbal practitioners in the forefront of research for COVID-19, and Chief Executive Officer of Ruzu Holistic Healthcare Limited said he has submitted his remedy to NAFDAC for verification.
He said the potentials of herbal medicine were neglected for years in the country, adding that the inclusion of traditional medicine practitioners in COVID-19 committees would alleviate the challenges faced by herbal practitioners, and also proffer solutions for the health care needs of the country.
He also called for awareness creation among the populace on the benefits of traditional medicines.