Making a case for an incoming government to create a new Ministry of Traditional, Complementary & Alternative Medicine (Part 1)
Currently, Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines are regulated in Ghana under the auspices of the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Practice Council of the Ministry of Health (TMPC).
Traditional or indigenous medicine is defined according to the World Health Organization as practice that is specific to a particular jurisdiction. Alternative and Complementary in Ghana is an imported or foreign practice of Medicine that is outside the jurisdiction of mainstream or conventional medicine. These Practitioners are licensed depending on their various levels of education and research in any form of the practices to operate legally in Ghana without any interference.
The focus of Medical Practice in Ghana is extensively on conventional medicine whilst almost about 80% of the populations have used any form of alternative medicine. More people are drifting to traditional and alternative system of medicine partly because it is patient friendly with minimal side effect. The philosophies of these practices are to do no harm to the patient.
In Ghana today, research into traditional and alternative medicines are underfunded but Ghana stands a chance of becoming one of the Medical World powers if special attention or a Ministry is dedicated to Traditional and Alternative medicine. The Likes of China, India and other countries are typical examples of countries profiting from these therapies. Ghana can do better if it channels its resources to this area.
In this publication, I am bringing to the forefront of future governments and the Political Parties to have a second look and create a new Ministry to take charge of Traditional and Alternative Medicine. India currently has done this and it has sharpened their Alternative Medical System and today they are generating billions of dollars from these areas.
Literature Review of Summary of Case studies from India Ministry of AYUSH
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on a mission to raise awareness and appealed for home-grown health treatments. The Prime Minister, Modi has repeatedly called for greater use of India’s health remedies and exercises, part of a push to promote traditional learning. During his first address at the United Nations, he encouraged more people to take up yoga and called for an International Yoga Day.
“This is our system and it has not received enough prominence. We will take it to the masses,” said Shripad Naik, who took charge of the Ministry of AYUSH
The formation of the ministry comes days after the government unveiled plans to set up a regulator for traditional drugs. India wants to expand its presence in the estimated $100 billion global market for alternative medicine, Reuters reported.
The success of the new ministry would depend on additional budgetary allocation, a government official told Reuters. The government allocated 10.69 billion rupees ($174 million) to develop and promote traditional health systems in the 2014-15 financial year.
Finally the Ministry of AYUSH was formed on 9th November 2014 to ensure the optimal development and propagation of AYUSH systems of health care. Earlier it was known as the Department of Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy (ISM&H) which was created in March 1995 and renamed as Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) in November 2003, with focused attention for development of Education and Research in Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. Previously it was under the India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The Bharatiya Janata Party, in its election manifesto, said it would increase public investment to promote AYUSH and start Integrated Courses for Indian system of Medicines and Modern Medicine.
So basically, the Current Ministry of Health in Ghana which has a department in charge of Traditional and Alternative Medicine should also be elevated to a new Ministry by an incoming government
Bodies under India Ministry of AYUSH
Bodies under the control of the Department of AYUSH are:
Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Medicine Science(CCRAS)
Central Council for Research in Siddha Medicine (CCRS)
Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM)
Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy Medicine (CCRH)
Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy Medicine (CCRYN)
Pharmacopoeial Laboratory for Indian Medicine (PLIM)
Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory (HPL)
National Institutes (Education in Indian Medicine):
National Institute of Ayurveda Medicine, Jaipur (NIA)
National Institute of Siddha Medicine, Chennai (NIS)
National Institute of Homoeopathy Medicine, Kolkata (NIH)
National Institute of Naturopathy Medicine, Pune (NIN)
National Institute of Unani Medicine, Bangalore (NIUM)
Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Medicine, Jamnagar, Gujarat (IPGTR)
Rashtriya Ayurveda Vidyapeeth(National Ayurveda University), New Delhi (RAV)
Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga Science, New Delhi (MDNIY)
Central Council of Homoeopathy Medicine (CCH)
Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM)
Central Council of Sowarigpa (Tibetan) Medicine (CCTM) Central Council of Naturopathy Medicine(CCNM)
Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission
Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL): Collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), set up in 2001, to prevent grant of “bed” patents on traditional knowledge and biopiracy. The digital library is being developed on codified traditional knowledge on Indian systems of medicines such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Yoga. Nearly 805,000 Ayurvedic formulations, 98,700 Unani formulations, and 9,970 Sidha formulations have been transcribed in patent application format in five languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Japanese.
Indian Medicine Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited (IMPCL), Mohan, Uttaranchal (a public sector undertaking)
The Cabinet gave its nod to the agreement for collaborative activities to be signed in the area of traditional medicine between the AYUSH Ministry and the World Health Organization in Geneva.
The Case of Traditional and Alternative Medical Practitioners being unqualified ‘charlatan’ Professionals
Critics of Traditional and Alternative Medicine often question the effectiveness of traditional remedies over modern medicine.
“There is a need for larger awareness in ayurveda. It can’t be limited to a doctor only. Our ancestors made good health a part of life,” Indian Minister of AYUSH said.
For instance, according to Dr. George Georgiou, the Academic director of Da Vinci College of Holistic Medicine and Holistic Center in Cyprus article on Doctors attacked Natural Medicine Practitioners in Cyprus spoke a lot to reveal all the damming facts between Conventional Practitioners and Natural Medicine Practitioners.
According to his article, the tactics they are using are highly unethical and unprofessional; basing their attack on the fact that all natural medicine practitioners are “unqualified charlatans” and people should not trust them with their health” he said. This was after a program called “60-minutes” on one of the national channels “Sigma”, showed how paid comedians acting as patients would enter natural medicine practitioner’s clinics with hidden spy cameras and record the practitioner treating them. Excerpts from this were taken completely out of context and shown on this national TV channel.
The conclusion in all cases was that they were all “charlatans” and were not practicing proper medicine. Most of these practitioners are highly qualified and the most successful on the island.
The behavior was instigated by one Dr Vasos Economou who is the President of the Ethical Committee for Medicine.The Doctor feels that using spy cameras is quite acceptable and normal behavior and there is no ethical issue involved as it is for the protection of the people of Cyprus! This has become a “legal” past-time here in Cyprus, practiced by TV stations in collusion with the medical fraternity.
The true objective of this propaganda is to frighten potential patients to stop going to natural medicine practitioners who are apparently reducing the medic’s income. They do not want the natural medicine practitioners to “eat from the same pie.” There is no thought to the benefits that patients can receive from natural medicine, only self-interests are at stake.
The implication of this bullying is that natural medicine practitioners do not know what they are doing and therefore are dangerous.
This implies that all the universities and their professors who teach natural medicine around the world are also charlatans out to exploit everyone, and teach dangerous diagnostic and treatment regimens to their practitioners.
“It seems to be OK for medical practitioners to “dabble” in natural medicine without any training because they are medics” Dr. George asked
However, highly qualified natural medicine practitioners with many years of university education, who may be scientific researchers, authors, clinicians and university professors, are all charlatans, along with the universities that awarded these degrees and diplomas.
DEFINITION OF CHARLATANISM
Dr. Georgiou asked the Medical Practitioner Dr. Economou who started the witch-hunt to define Charlatanism – the main idea of charlatans is that they “swindle” or “cheat” their patients to satisfy their own interests, Dr. George said.
Notwithstanding, Dr. George admitted that, Indeed, there are charlatans on both sides of the screen, both medical doctors and natural medicine practitioners – this is based on the practitioner’s personality, not their qualifications.
Dr. George further said that in Cyprus, with the organized medical industry of over 2,000 medical practitioners, charlatanism has reached its peak amongst them. Most doctors that belong to the “clique” receive back-handers from medical laboratories for sending patients to them for blood analyses, from pharmaceutical companies for prescribing drugs, from medical centers for referring patients for scans, as well as from colleagues for referring a patient.
The patient gets trapped in this group of medical professionals who certainly cannot be objective when there are so many monetary rewards for simply signing a piece of paper.
Dr. Georgiou, a media star Holistic medical practitioner therefore used this opportunity to define “charlatism” – who is the charlatan now, he asked?
“The medical doctor who tries to bleed the patients finances for their self-interests, or the natural medicine practitioner who genuinely cares for his patients and wants them to do well, offering them only what they need for diagnosis and treatment”.
“CHARLATANS” DO NOT KILL PATIENTS!
The philosophy of natural medicine is its operate on patients friendly environment and does not kill patients unlike many of the lethal side-effects of drugs used by modern medicine, not to mention the negative consequences of surgery and radiation.
It is incredible when we look at the statistics regarding ‘Iatrogenic Diseases’ – these are the diseases and symptoms that are actually caused by medical interventions, mostly drugs. In just the last five years there have been ten times more patients affected by iatrogenic diseases than the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War! Dr. George stated. He further backed his claim with a statistic that comes straight from the Journal of the American Medical Association after a study of drug side-effects.
Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu is a Research Professor of Prostate Cancer and Holistic Medicine –faculty of Holistic Urology, Da Vinci College of Holistic Medicine, Larnaca City, Cyprus. He is the National President of the Alternative Medical Association of Ghana (AMAG). A registered alternative Medical practitioner with specialty in orthomolecular oncology, Prostate Cancer Policy maker and researcher. He can be reached on 0541090045. E mail: Oburalph30@yahoo.co.uk