Jammeh made this declaration in Banjul at the launch of the National Traditional Medicines’ Day – January 17. The event, which was interspersed with drama and cultural performances, gathered scores of orthodox medical practitioners, government officials, development agencies and beneficiaries of the president’s alternative treatment.
He added: “The foundation has been laid for this day. It is not only launching it, but our entire healthcare delivery system will fully accept and integrate traditional medicine. Therefore, the minister of health and of course with myself, is working with the Traditional Healers Association of The Gambia, to ensure that all [herbal] healers who come up with all sorts of concoctions and things that they don’t know only to poison people are kicked out of the system. The government through the ministry of health will form a board together with TRAHASS to ensure that whatever is given to any patient passes through a system and those who practice at home are certified and declared safe before they are administered for treatment.
“There are medical clinics in this country where patients are asked to pay upfront before they get treatment. This is very inhumane. This is very unethical because the founders of modern medicine put human life before anything. There should be a guarantee that if the treatment fails, they should return the money and this is not done. I want the ministry of health to work with all the traditional healers so that we can have a medical board that will incorporate natural medicine. They should also ensure that certified modern medicine [practitioners] including pharmacies and clinics should be part of an all-inclusive board that will certify herbal medicine and make sure that all practitioners are registered.
“It is also the duty of the association to make sure that such crooked people are wiped out of the system because any traditional healer, herbalist or natural medicine man is a brother to all of us. It is a natural fraternity that Allah has created and because if you allow this [dishonest practice] and say is not your business, if anything happens to the patient, they are going to categorise all of us as being responsible. So every traditional herbalist should jealously guide the ethics of the profession. In traditional medicine, cure comes before any gain.”]]>