Importance of Alternative medicine
Do you think a national college of alternative medicine will ever develop here in the U.S. Will the powers that be ever officially approve of ‘alternative therapies’?
Don’t count on it…however as backwards as Africa is they appear to be much farther down the road to recognizing the efficacy of alternative practices in health care and the healing arts.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), is a cover name for alternative medicine, complementary medicine, and integrative medicine which is considered as “a group of diverse medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine”.
It includes all such practices and ideas, self-defined by their users as preventing or treating illness or promoting health and wellbeing. The importance of the practices cannot be undermined in Nigeria, considering the challenges being faced by the masses who believe in alternative cure by applying herbal elements in treatments of various ailments prevailing in the tropics.
Analysts say the list of therapies included under CAM changes over time. If and when an approach regarded as “unproven therapy” is proven to be safe and effective, it may be adopted into conventional health care and over time may cease to be considered “alternative”. They said the most important part of alternative medicines is that they are cheap, reliable and are fully functional and if the disease is properly diagnosed and the treatment is done from a professional physician it renders exclusive results. Another major factor which fascinates even the modern physicians is that there are almost nil chances of side effects from these medicines.
In their opinions: “Alternative medicines have proved itself as one of the pioneer healers for several ailments without causing any side effects, but as time elapsed these medicines got outdated and were replaced by modern counterparts – allopathic drugs. “In allopathic drugs, the nature of immediate relief renders a boom to these medicines and these medicines have done a lot of harm besides healing. This is a common fact that usually allopathic drugs are not naturally and they are derived from strong chemicals which, though cure the ailments, but creates toxins in the body itself which after sometime leads to some diseases or ailments”. Several attempts have been made to cultivate alternative treatments of ailments, which the sufferers believe could be diagnosed, prevented and treated by “natural preparations”.
One of such initiatives is the establishment of The Federal College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (FEDCAM), located on Plot 505, Wushishi Crescent, Utako District, Abuja. The college runs courses in Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Nursing Practice, Pharmacology and Pathology, among others and on August 19, 2010, it matriculated 36 students and launched FEDCAM Biodisc Water, produced by the college. According to the Registrar of the college, Dr Michael Akindipe, the college is holding series of consultations with the National Universities Commission (NUC), on the accreditation process of the college. “We have prepared for future challenges and our focus is to equip the Nigerian youth with adequate knowledge in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). “The focus of the college is the restoration and maintenance of health of Nigerians through the reintroduction and utilisation of forgotten ancient nuggets of life,” he said.
Akindipe said that the college was affiliated to the University of Jos, University of Abuja and some foreign universities.
He said the institution was a professional training institute whose courses are recognised by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria Act (MDCN). He said the institute was established based on the yearning of Nigerians who wished to become alternative medical doctors. According to him, the 18 month old institution has met all the guidelines given by the MDCN. Onyeka, who reacted to the decision of the National Universities Commission (NUC) to close the college on the grounds that it is running illegal courses said: ” The institution hopes to start a degree programme as soon as it gets clearance from all relevant authorities, saying that the college only runs professional and certificate programmes. “First of all, we are not running a degree programme; there were mistakes in the handbills. If you remember, this is not the first time NUC will be coming here. Actually, this problem happened two years ago and I just took over as the head of this particular department. I am Dr. Onyeka, I am a registered Doctor of Alternative Medicine in Washington D.C.
“We are not running degree programmes; I repeat there is nothing like Masters Degree in Medicine, it is fake, there is nothing like PhD in Medicine; no school will give you that. This school is established by the Federal Ministry of Health based on the yearnings and recommendation of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria to train Alternative Medicine Doctors in the four arms of Alternative Medicine”. “What we are doing now is that the Medical and Dental Council has decided that we are running a professional course just like the ICAN. There is no way we will be running a degree programme without NUC approving it we will just be wasting our time”. The Federal Government has,on several occasions, assisted in the development of strategies which can ensure credible practices in alternative medicine and it is important that the stakeholders evolve a means of convincing the government of their ability to deliver. The NUC wants the college to put things in proper perspective and it is not by any motive biased against the support for alternative medicine development.
* West Africa
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Julius Okojie said “the Federal Ministry of Health only runs a tertiary institution on the level of Federal Medical Centre not for training programmes. “There is no ministry that will run a degree awarding institution without passing through the Ministry of Education. Whatever is happening, something somewhere is wrong”. He advised proprietors of institutions to always inform NUC before commencing any programme.
Alternative Medicines therapy comprises of Acupressure, a traditional Chinese medicine which is based on acupuncture concept and it involves placing physical pressure by hand, elbow or with the aid of other devices on different acupuncture points on the surface of the body; and Acupuncture, inserting and manipulation of needles into “acupuncture points” on the body in order to restore health and well-being, as treating pain and diseases. This therapy is also believed to have originated from China. Homeopathy has its origin in late 18th century by a German physician – Samuel Hahnemann while aromatherapy utilizes the volatile liquid plant materials. There are several others which are helpful in managing prevailing diseases in the world.
• Bamidele, a media analyst, wrote in from Abuja
As long as we have and FDA and AMA etc. don’t count on anything like this ever happening in this country. Our system has been ‘developed’ on purpose by the ruling elite in this country so that businesses could develop that take advantage of the power of patented medicines, procedures and equipment, while many alternative therapies are natural and cannot be patented only duplicated thus limiting profitability for any one corporation. That last part is something the rich and greedy never want to see happen anywhere!