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The 11th African Traditional Medicine Day, 31 August 2013, was celebrated under the theme: “Traditional Medicine Research and Development”. In this light, as usual, The Naturopathic Institute of West Africa (GENIWA), formerly Dr Fru’s Garden of Eden International Healing and Research Foundation commemorated the day with a series of activities. In the early hours of the day (Saturday 31st August 2013), Dr. Fru conducted a free consultation, counseling and treatment of persons from all and sundry. The Institution went further into the celebrations with a press conference with  press organs in Cameroon, in which he stressed on the importance of traditional medicine for Cameroon, Africa and the rest of the world, calling on them to “…embrace Traditional Medicine with more confidence, for it is our heritage, our culture, our way of life and our future…”.  He also used the opportunity to unveil the Garden of Eden Naturopathic Institute of West Africa, a training institute for Natural Health Practitioners. The press conference extended to exhibitions of some natural products produced by the Garden, refreshments and more. Below is the full speech by Dr Fru Richard on the occasion of the celebration of the 11th African Traditional Medicine Day 31 August 2013.

GENIWA Celebrates the 11th African Traditional Medicine Day, 31 August 2013.
Theme: “Traditional Medicine Research and Development”.
Research shows that more than two third of the world’s plants species are estimated to have medicinal value. Also, Current World Health Organization (WHO) estimates shows that for 80 percent (%) of the people in the developing world, traditional medicine is the main and sometime the only source of health care.
In our region, in Africa, Traditional medicine has strong historical and cultural origins. Whereas European missionaries and colonial administrators to an extent encouraged traditional medicine in India and China, they almost violently discouraged African Traditional Medicine (ATM).
Most particularly, the intricate relationship between African Medicine and African religion made traditional medicine practice key targets of attack by early European Christian Missionaries, who considered many African religious rites and rituals to be against Christian teachings and morals. Traditional healers were regarded as heathens because of their participation in African Traditional Religion.
The beginning of civilization and the healing arts can be traced back to Africa and the divine Inmhotep, healer to the Pharaohs.
The ancient African healers had an elaborate materia medica, which most of the over 5,000 plant species have been used for food and medicines for centuries. There is no clear distinction in African traditional medicines as to when a herb ceases to be a health food and becomes a medicine.
Unlike India, China and other parts of the world, the traditions of Africa have not been documented leaving African medicinal species under represented in modern herbal medicine. Many species are already endangered and some to be lost to deforestation before we ever know them.
The commemoration of the African Traditional Medicine Day (ATMD) coincides with the date 31 August 2000, on which the ministers of Health adopted the relevant resolution at their 50th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that more than eighty percent (80%) of Africans depend on traditional medicine for their health needs.
2009 celebration of the ATMD was under the theme, “Traditional Medicine and Patient Safety”. This theme called upon member states to scale up institutionalization and integration of TM into National Health Systems (NHS) as well as promote research in the field. Member states were therefore urged to conduct advocacy / educational programmes and also to provide update reports on the status of implementation of 11th priority areas of the plan of Action on the African Union first Decade of African Traditional Medicine which was designated as 2001-2010 in order to facilitate early compilation of a consolidated, comprehensive and accurate End-Of-Decade report.
A plan of Action and Implementation Mechanism for the Decade was adopted by AU conference of Ministers of Health and endorsed by the 2003 Maputo African Union (AU) Summit of Heads of State and Government.
The main objective of the Plan of Action was to accelerate the recognition, acceptance, development, inetgration and institutionalization of Traditional Medicine (TM) by member states into the Public Health Care System (PHCS) in Africa by 2010.
The commitments were made in recognition that TM is not only a health issue but also a cultural Heritage which must be protected and preserved. Quoting Dr.Louis Samba, the Regional director of WHO during the first celebration of ATMD in 2003, he said, “Traditional Medicine is our heritage, our culture, our way of life, our pride and our future”.
The Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care (PHC) IN 1978 recognized the role of Traditional Medicine (TM) and its practitioners as important allies in achieving Health-For-All.
In 2001, the Lusaka Assembly Decision declared the period 2001-2010 as the Decade for African Traditional Medicine (ATM). In this framework, the Maputo Summit of 2003 also declared 31st August each year as the Day for African Traditional Medicine.
It is over ten years (10years) now, unfortunately no significant progress has been made in Cameroon when it comes to integrating traditional medicine into the National Health Care System (NHCS) of the country.
Unfortunately, this is still the area where the DOMINANT CULTURE is being marginalized.
Ingrain in our minds is the virus of ignorance, greed and selfishness that has eaten deep into the immune system of our minds and consciences, weakening them from reasoning and utilizing and promoting the use of our green gold (plants) for the betterment of our society.
God has in fact, made life so easy, beautiful and enjoyable, but man is the one complicating it because of lack of True revelation knowledge and unbelieves. Many people have failed to realize that Education is different from knowledge. Many pray that, traditional medicine which has its own philosophy and believe about disease or infirmity should be carried to the laboratory and tested to see how it can kill microbes which are believed in allopathic or orthodox medicine to be the cause of sickness.
The Germ Theory of Disease is the foundation of Western or allopathic Medicine and has been the basis for innovations such as antibiotics and hygiene practices. The Germ Theory was validated in the 19th century following the work of Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) and Robert Koch (1843-1910). It proposes that micro-organisms are the cause of many diseases.
Conventional or allopathic medicine concentrates in studying of disease (pathology) and its eradication and NOT enough in studying health and how to create and sustain it.
This is in fact, where the great divide exists between conventional and African Traditional Medicine which view health in a holistic perspective.

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Ref: 079/G37/D9/1/Vol. 7/102/OAPP/66