The concerted efforts at the standardization of African Traditional Medicine (ATM) as alternative to orthodox drugs has received a boost, as experts in the field converge at the University of Benin under the auspices of the National Mirror and Technical Committee for the harmonization of African Organisation for Standardization (ARSO) Standards on ATM.

A statement from the Director General’s office disclosed that the  meeting would be the 7th since the Committee was inaugurated by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in 2015 to develop and harmonize Nigeria’s position on the standardization of ATM at the Continental level.

Draft standards for discussion at the meeting according to the statement will include, Baobab; Bitter Almond; Zobo; Efirin; Cashew Leaves; Cashew Seeds/Nut; Cashew Apple; African Bush Mango – Ogbono; Bitter leaf; Bitter Kola and Zogale.

Nigeria’s participation has contributed to the publishing of eleven (11) ARSO Standards on African Traditional Medicine, Ten of which have been adopted for use in Nigeria, it said.

These include;

  • good manufacturing practice for herbal medicines;
  • guidelines on good agricultural and collection practices;
  • minimum requirements for registration of traditional medicines;
  • certification scheme for medicinal plant produce and
  • safety, efficacy and quality of raw materials and herbal medicines among others.

The ATM committee which comprises of experts from twenty-eight (28) Organisations covering the Academia, Research Institutes, Regulatory Agencies, Professional Associations in health care delivery and the Private sector, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) practitioners, is chaired by Prof. Maurice Iwu, an internationally recognized Pharmacognosist and the Chief Executive Officer of the Bio Resources Development Group (BDG).

The SON provides the secretariat for the committee’s activities while the meetings are voluntarily hosted on rotational basis by member organisations, as part of their contributions to standards development efforts in Nigeria for ATM.

The SON statement alluded to the unrelenting efforts by ARSO member countries in ensuring that African Traditional Medicines become safe alternatives in the management of health issues, particularly within the continent.

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