A paradigm shift in health care is taking place all over the globe which calls for integration of allopathic and herbal medical practice in Ghana.
The sale and usage of food supplements and herbal medicinal products are increasing, whiles more people are asking and requesting more information on herbal therapies.
Many have also lost interest and confidence in allopathic medicine resulting from drug resistance leading to treatment failure.
There also exist chronic diseases that need prolonged and expensive allopathic medicine which the general public cannot afford.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 80-90% of the population of the world depends on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs.
As a matter of fact, the industry is not regulated and as a result, has attracted charlatans into the industry which is a multi-billion cedi business.
So far as prescription medicines are concerned, every country has legal requirements that govern the manufacture, wholesale and retail distribution processes, dispensing processes and usage of medicines. However, when it comes to medicinal plants products, these legal requirements are not in place to even call for the integration of herbal medicines into the health care delivery system.
A wide range of herbal medicinal products are being peddled around for sale with impunity without recourse to the user as to what will happen.
Most of these products are coming from China, India and Malaysia.
To help improve the herbal medicine industry which can create employment for millions and provide possible treatment to numerous diseases that confront us as a nation and the rational use of these products, integration into the national health delivery system and regulatory issues should be looked at.
Integrative Medicine is a rapidly emerging field that seeks to improve medical care by integrating the allopathic medicine to best of herbal medical modalities and approaches that have proven efficacy and safety.
Most allopathic medical practitioners are not aware of the evidence that already exists for the safety and efficacy of many herbal medicines for the treatments of most disease conditions where allopathic medicine has failed. There is therefore the need for the incorporation of herbal medical modalities into allopathic medicine in Ghana.
The integration of the best of herbal and allopathic medicine will be able to create a radically new kind of health care. This will be the medicine of the future. What is at stake is not just the status of some individual persons or treatment but the whole meaning of health care for all.
The larger mission of integration of both systems in the long run is to put together a new kind of medical practice, an integrative medicine. Separation of these systems as we have is meaningless. We therefore have to build but one inclusive health system instead of two, as these healing modalities and procedures will work in conjunction with the common reference point of science.
Integrative medicine is a partnership between patient and practitioner and it incorporates allopathic and herbal medical methods to bring about a healing response of the body.