As the nation intensifies the battle against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mrs Brigitte Yerima, the Acting Executive Secretary, National Institute of Cultural Orientation (NICO), has called on the Federal Government to pay more attention to people claiming to have traditional remedies.
Yerima in a statement issued in Abuja, on Wednesday said that Nigerian herbal medicine practitioners have been treating malaria and other ailments for some time, “It will therefore be wise to look towards their direction.”
“We urge that it is time for us to jettison our standoffish attitude towards traditional medical practices which we have always considered as ‘local’ and backward .
“This has always been the bane of trado – medical and cultural practices in the country,” she said.
According to her, the COVID -19 pandemic was without doubt, the greatest health challenge facing humanity in recent past.
”Although preempted by many, it seems to have caught the world by surprise.
“Initially, most nations of the world paid little or no attention to the virus until it became a global phenomenon with no proven and acceptable cure even by the western orthodox standards up till now.
”Though, general response to the pandemic has been by way of western defensive methods which include border closure, erection of isolation centers, among others, yet the scourge of the pandemic has not been contained,” she said.
Yerima said that NICO as a cultural institute, established with the primary responsibility of harnessing cultural resources to meet the challenges of social integration, is advancing a way forward that Nigerians need to embrace a culture related life style now and the post pandemic period.
“While we advise Nigerians to change their lifestyles and be more conscious in terms of how we relate with one another and not neglect the basic issues of personal hygiene, we are certain that there are a lot of herbal plants that can cure many ailments that orthodox medicines cannot, Coronavirus inclusive.
“We urge government at all levels as well as creative entrepreneurs to invest heavily in the research into them as a sure way towards achieving national development.
“We must take pride in our cultural materials which have sustained us over the years and give room for more research into the different aspects and dimensions,” she added.
She said it was instructive to know that several Nigerians had advanced ‘cures’ for the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that some Nigeria’s traditional medicine and alternative medicine were proudly and confidently bringing out one formula after another as possible cure for COVID-19 and should be encouraged.
“Prof.Maurice Iwu led the way by saying he had found a cure, Prof. Ayodele Adeleye, a former microbiology lecturer and medical researcher at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria also said he has found a cure.
“Dr Ben Amodu who owns a 30-bed African Alternative Medicine Hospital in Abuja claims that one of his patients had tested negative after treatment.
“He displays an array of herbal formulas which he claims have cured lung cancer, other lung diseases and therefore can cure COVID19 and most recently the Catholic monks in Ewu , Edo state have also claimed to have made inroads into finding a cure for the virus,” she said.
She therefore calle dfor an examination or clinical trials into the claims of cure for COVID-19 by its citizens and encourage them.
“We woke up to the news that the Federal Government has ordered a trail of the Madagascar cure.
“While we view this as cheering news the institute also urged the Taskforce, the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC and others in canvassing for a home based solution to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.
Yerima stressed that the global pandemic presents an opportunity for Nigeria to plan on how to survive post COVID -19 using the cultural way.
“Culture comprises the material, institutional, philosophical and creative aspects of a people.
“The material aspect has to do with their artifacts in the broadest form, such as tools, clothing, food, medicine, utensils, housing,among others,” she said.