Government is working to add essential herbal medicines to the list of drugs covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme, Dr. Kofi Bobby Barimah, Acting Executive Director of the Centre for Plant Medicine Research at Mampong, has said.
Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population.
They are selected with due regard to public health relevance, evidence on efficacy, safety and comparative cost-effectiveness.
Government has a set of criteria and a policy it works with before it includes any drug in the essential list.
Dr. Barimah said it is the mission of his centre to make herbal medicine a natural choice for all, adding that the demand for herbal treatments has increased since the pandemic.
“Before Covid-19, our daily attendance to clinic was 70 to 80 patients. Since the COVID-19 came, it has increased to 100 to 140; this tells you that a lot of Ghanaians are using herbal medicine.”
Speaking at the launch of a herbal drug, Thorntina-74 mixture, in Accra, he added: “One interesting thing is that the official policy of the Ministry of Health is integration, and this means that herbal medicine is being integrated into the healthcare system, so when you go to about 50 healthcare facilities, you have access to herbal medicine. I would also like to say that the Ministry of Health is now working to implement the inclusion of essential herbal medicine in the national health insurance [scheme] to make sure that herbal medicine is accessible.”
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He further disclosed that the centre is collaborating with KNUST on a clinical trial for one of its products to find a cure for COVID-19.
Speaking at the same event, Dr. Yaw Owusu Gyapong, the MD of Diagnostic Herbal Clinic, said herbal treatment is gradually gaining roots in the country and urged all to support it.
He added the new drug [Thorntina-74] is formulated from carefully selected plants whose medicinal properties have already been proven with scientific data published in credible academic journals.
Thorntina-74 is a distillate from a combination of various plant materials formulated with no additives and is to be used as a food supplement to release phytochemicals including antioxidants.
This will fuel the body’s immune system to naturally fight against diseases.