The Gambia on Tuesday joined the rest of the African continent to celebrate the African Traditional Medicine Day with the theme: ‘Traditional medicine decade, progress so far.’ The event which was held at the Kanifing Municipality brought together health personnel and traditional healers from around the country.
In his opening remarks, the lord mayor of KMC Mr. Yankuba Colley said that time and science have proven that traditional medicine remains a vital component in the treatment of ailments of all sorts in every part of the world.
“We live in a modernized and scientific world where case studies have established the vitality of traditional medicine in our society beyond reasonable doubt.”
He pointed out that if the theory that modern medicine is produced out of herbs and similar elements is anything to go by, there is no reason why people should doubt the effectiveness and value of traditional medicine, noting that the success of the treatment programmes by His Excellency, Sheikh Professor Alhagie Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh through the exclusive application of traditional medicine and methods are testamentary to the efficacy of traditional medicine.
Colley added that the successes of these traditional medicines were established in Western medical laboratories yet with much ambiguity.
“Elements who assume that African knowledge is inferior to Western education are reluctant to accept the verdict. The same applies to successes registered by various traditional healers across Africa and parts of Asia,” he said.
He further highlighted that traditional medicine is cultural and plays a big role in health care of people and communities. Promoting the traditional medicine institution, he said, is a task to be completed by all genuine Africans. He also indicated that traditional healers are first sources of health care in most parts of Africa and their services are easily accessible and more than affordable.
For her part, the director of Health Services, Dr. Adama Demba dilated on the cardinal objectives for marking the event. According to her, the day was earmarked for governments and stakeholders to take stock of their contributions in the promotions of traditional medicine and for them to dwell on the theme of the occasion for their future plans and stimulation.
While enunciating on the theme of the event, Dr. Demba said that the idea of the setting aside a decade for the promotion of traditional medicine in the African continent was well-thought out by an illustrious son of the country, Alhagie Dr. Malick Samba, the then WHO regional director for Africa due to his faith in traditional medicine and his belief that it could make formidable outcome on the lives of Africans if given the chance.
According to him, Dr. Samba, during his stewardship was able to convince African countries to adopt the decade 2000 to 2010 as traditional medicine decade. “In 2002 to 2005, WHO adopted strategies which incorporated the attainment of the goals of traditional medicine decade,” she said.
She went on to thank President Jammeh for his relentless effort in the promotion of traditional medicine and assured traditional medical institutions in the country that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is ever-ready to cooperate with them in the quest to accelerate health development through the use of traditional medicine. She finally thanked the WHO for their unflinching support to achieve the goals of traditional medicine decade.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Salieu Puge, the vice president of the National Traditional Healers Assembly expressed delight and honor for marking yet another commemoration of African Traditional Medicine Day. According to him, this is its eighth commemoration which he said is very significant as it marks the end of the decade especially dedicated to promote the advancement of traditional medicine.