Heads of Medical Associations and Councils attend the 10th ECOWAS Scientific Congress on Traditional Medicine
Saly, SENEGAL: The West African Health Organisation (WAHO) organised the 10th Scientific Congress of Traditional Medicine Practitioners (TMPs) and Conventional Medicine Practitioners (CMPs), in Saly, Senegal from 11-14 December 2018 under the theme: "The role of Traditional Medicine Practitioners in reducing maternal and infant mortality and morbidity in the ECOWAS region".
The Congress brought together about 70 participants of varied profiles (Directors/Coordinators of Traditional Medicine Programmes, Heads of Medical Associations and Councils, Traditional Medicine Practitioners, Experts, Researchers, Academics, etc.) from ECOWAS countries.
The Opening Ceremony was marked by four main addresses:
- Dr Kofi Busia: Director of the Directorate of Healthcare Services at WAHO, representing the Director General of WAHO;
- Mrs Zainab Ujudud Sharif of Nigeria: Chairperson of the meeting;
- Prof Christian Otu Onyebuchi Chukwu: Former Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and former Chairperson of the ECOWAS Assembly of Health Ministers; and
- Dr Boubacar Ba: WAHO Liaison Officer of Senegal, representing the Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Senegal.
Two major issues were discussed during the Congress: (a) the report on the update of the development of the 2nd volume of the West African Herbal Pharmacopoeia and its validation, and (b) the role of TMPs in reducing maternal and child mortality and morbidity in the ECOWAS region.
Participants noted the weakness of the region’s health systems with regards to inadequate access to timely and quality health care, and that good governance should be at the heart of the solutions for addressing the high level of maternal and child mortality in the region.
Participants highlighted the fruitful contributions from the group work on: the prospects for TM promotion, the benefits of intellectual property protection of traditional medical knowledge, the socio-anthropological perspectives of TM in reducing maternal and child mortality, the community impact of the lessons learnt from the Congress, networking and follow-up of activities to be carried out.
The Congress recommended to WAHO to create awareness among countries on good governance in reducing maternal and child mortality and morbidity, taking into account the role of TM. The Congress also suggested that WAHO should make use of regional reference laboratories in the ECOWAS member countries to validate TM products of proven efficacy for the treatment of mother and child disorders.
Participants invited countries to critically analyse the real causes of maternal and child mortality, but also to develop and fund strategies for better involvement of TMPs. Participants were of the view that the establishment of an institutional framework for collaboration between TMPs and CMPs offers a unique platform for dialogue in the consensual search for solutions for improving Mother and Child Health.
The Congress urged all participants to disseminate among the different sectors concerned, the lessons learnt, for the ultimate goal of reducing the high maternal and child mortality and morbidity rates in the ECOWAS region.
The Congress thanked the Senegalese authorities for the warm welcome given to the participants and for the commitment of the Ministry of Health and Social Action.
Finally, the Congress expressed its sincere thanks to WAHO for promoting TM, and for its strategic vision for integrated action in the quest for sustainable solutions for the reduction of maternal and child mortality and morbidity in the ECOWAS region.