Nigeria drafts new work items on African traditional medicines


By Abba-Eku Onyeka

The Nigerian National Mirror Committee on African Tradi-tional Medicines (ATM) has commenced work on 20 new proposals for development into draft standards to enrich the stock of available Standards in Nigeria in particular and the African continent at large.

This was contained in a recent release from SON signed by ‘Bola Fashina.

This disclosure was part of the resolutions at the 8th meeting of the Mirror Committee, hosted by the Raw Materials, Research and Development Council, in Abuja recently and chaired by Professor Maurice Iwu, erudite pharmacognosist.

According to the Director General, (DG) Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Osita Aboloma, the new work items were arrived at following justifications provided by the proposers on the need to adopt them for further deliberations towards eventual elaboration into draft standards.

The draft standards will then be submitted to the Technical Harmonization Committee of the African Organisation for Standardization (ARSO) for further deliberations towards approval as African standards.

Represented by Dr. Mrs. Omolara Okunlola, Group Head, Food Technology, the SON Chief Executive listed some of the new work items as including Coconut (leaves, medicinal oils, stem bark {shells}, fruit and water), alligator pepper, African white wood and lemon grass among others.

He commended members of the Committee on their efforts towards the development of the six approved standards on African Traditional Medicine by the Standards Council, for use in Nigeria last year.

Other resolutions of the Committee according to Dr. Okunlola include:

That the Subcommittee on Communication/Engagement should work with SON to create public awareness on the Six approved Standards on African Traditional Medicine for voluntary patronage and uptake in Nigeria; that SON and NAFDAC should bring up inspection guidelines for Certification of the herbal products, especially the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Good Agriculture and Collection Practice (GACP).

The Secretariat was also directed to circulate the ARSO template for Medicinal plant Standards and an electronic copy of an ARSO approved Standard to guide members in the development of the initial draft of the 20 new work items.

The meeting was attended by experts of the Committee drawn from the Academia, Research Institutes, Regulatory Agencies, Professional Associations in health care delivery and the Private sector, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) practitioners.

The Institute for Agriculture Research (IAR), Samaru Zaria, Kaduna State also joined the committee for the first time.