Baba Aisha: Nigeria’s health ministry to establish regulatory body to check herbal medicine practitioners

Nigeria’s Ministry of Health is working to create a body to regulate the activities of herbal medicine practitioners in the country.

This move is the latest in the series of reactions that have followed the publication of an investigation, which focuses on the traditional herbal medicine sector, by DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES.

The investigation exposed the harmful nature of ‘Baba Aisha Herbal Medicine’, one of the most popular concoctions consumed by many Nigerians.

The investigation, which includes an extensive laboratory test, revealed that the concoction contains harmful ingredients capable of causing cancer, lung and liver diseases for users.

A copy of the laboratory result was sent to the ministry.

In its response communicated in a letter, the ministry hinted that it is actively establishing a regulatory body to continuously look at the activities of herbal medicine practitioners in Nigeria.

“The Federal Ministry of Health, in its mandate of provision of quality stewardship and health for all Nigerians, is advocating and in the process of establishing a regulatory body to checkmate the activities of these practitioners,” part of the letter reads.

While commending these newspapers for their efforts in exposing the harmful concoction, the ministry highlighted some of the actions already taken by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which includes a seal off of the building where the concoction is being produced and arrest of the producer, Salisu Sani.

The ministry further notes that the laboratory report has been sent to necessary stakeholders for further action. The letter was signed by Titus Tile, the ministry’s Director, Traditional and Alternative Medicines Department.

SON’s reaction

In a similar reaction, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) said it would collaborate with NAFDAC to address issues raised in the investigation.

The SON is responsible for ensuring local, regional and international products sold in Nigeria meet quality, measurement accuracy, certification and other standards.

While commending us for the investigation, SON hinted at the collaboration to ensure standards in the traditional herbal medicine sector in a letter to these newspapers.

“In order to effectively address the issues raised in your report, the organisation will further collaborate with NAFDAC,” the letter, signed by the Director-General of the organisation, Olabayo Kunle, a professor, reads.

Follow up

Since publication, NAFDAC has taken some steps in restoring regulatory standards and mopping up the harmful concoctions of the streets.

However, we still await answers to a few promises.

For instance, the agency promised to conduct its investigation and publicise its findings but has yet to revert to this promise.

Following the publication, NAFDAC raided the building where the concoction is being produced, confiscated several items and arrested two people.

The next day, the producer was arrested and detained after visiting NAFDAC’s office.

NAFDAC is yet to give an update on the arrest. Part of the questions begging for answers is if Baba Aisha has been granted bail and if he has been officially charged to court.

The latest attempt by DUBAWA and PREMIUM TIMES to get some answers from the agency has yielded no positive result.

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