The Federal Government has pledged to give priority attention to the development of natural medicine through painstaking research and innovation in the healthcare sector.

Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, stated this when he received the executive members of the South East Traditional Medicine Association who paid him a courtesy visit in his Abuja office.

Onu said natural medicine could do a lot for the country if adequate attention was given to it, adding that the country was endowed with herbs, roots and leaves with properties that could cure and manage many diseases.

He said an agency of the ministry, Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (NNMDA), was working assiduously to determine the efficacy of many herbs.

The minister pointed out that there were many opportunities to make money in traditional medical practice in Nigeria, urging the practitioners to partner with NNMDA to promote the sector.

“Rather than going abroad for treatment, Nigerians should look inward and utilise our natural endowments that have been certified by researchers to be non-toxic and effective,” he advised.

Nigeria, he explained, would reap maximum benefits from the export of traditional medicine as well as create jobs for her teeming populace.

Onu further commended the association for its contributions to healthcare delivery, especially in rural areas where many Nigerians reside.

Samuel Etatuvie, Director-General of NNMDA, implored the association not to hoard their knowledge, urging them to pass it on to the younger ones through the documentation for mutual benefits.

He stressed the need to reduce the importation of natural medicine, adding that the agency had trained members of Nigerian Association of Traditional Medicine Practitioners on practices and product development skills.

Earlier, Chibuzor Ugorji, chairman of the association, had called for the establishment of traditional medicine department in the ministry.

The association, which has been in existence for 28 years and has over 3.6 million members in Nigeria, presented an award of excellence to the minister.

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