First set of traditional and natural medicine practitioners have graduated in Bayelsa State. They were inducted into the world of certified and qualified traditional medical practitioners recently in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. About 80 of them got certificates.
It was a happy occasion. The ceremony had all the trappings of convocation of a typical higher institution. They were adorned in graduation gowns and head gears. They received convocation lectures and the best graduates among them got the privilege of addressing the assembly.
The graduates, who wore smiling faces throughout the occasion, were trained by the Nigerian Council of Physicians of Natural Medicine in collaboration (NCPNM) with the Green Centre for Alternative Medicine Practitioners (Green Centre Academy).
In fact, they exuded uncommon confidence in issues of herbs. Already, they made presentations showing their capacity to fight illnesses and other medical conditions using alternative medicine. For them, nature not chemicals heals perfectly.
Presentations made by the various groups of graduates gave credence to their professionalism. The group one anchored by Ebi Oladeji, showed that a substance in corn, which was converted into liquid, can cure kidney-related diseases, blood sugar and birth difficulty. Samuel Okuku in group two produced a mixture using bitter cola to fight bacteria and bladder stone.
What about Lockion Bidila of group three, who brought a liquid made of hair cream plant, which could grow the hair, fight skin diseases and hypertension? Abiodun Davies group produced a mixture made from zobo leaves so were groups five and six, which thrilled the audience with various demonstrations.
Speaking at the occasion, the Bayelsa State Coordinator, NCPNM, Dr. Ruth Okeima, said she was elated at the feat. “Producing the first graduates of natural medicine in Bayelsa State is a dream come true”.
She said the NCPMN and the National Association of Physicians of Natural Medicine (NAPNM) are recognized by the Ministry of Health and the Dental Council of Nigeria. “This recognition was given at the council meeting on 16th June 2005 in Akure and it has been noted as the umbrella body of practitioners of alternative medicine in Nigeria”, she said.
She said the objectives of the organisation are to promote alternative medicine, traine and retrain alternative medicine practitioners and regulate and standardize alternative medicine in Nigeria among others. She, however, lamented that absence of traditional medicine board in Bayelsa.
She said: “There is no traditional medicine board in Bayelsa State. That is another hurdle we have to face”, adding that most of the graduates came from far-flung creeks of Southern Ijaw and Ekeremor. She said the graduates would go down to the grassroots to help the government actualise its vision in the health sector.
Also speaking, the Director, Green Centre Academy, Darlington Okafor, told the graduates to observe the limits of their practice. He appealed to them to examine all cases and refer the ones they could not handle to hospitals.
He urged them to avail themselves of more training and to keep updating themselves for better performance. He said practitioners should eschew pride and adopt humility adding that God takes the glory of healing powers in natural medicine. He expressed confidence that in the nearest future Bayelsa will be exporting natural medicine.
In his induction lecture, the Deputy Director of Studies, Green Centre, Prof. Gilbert Ezengige, exposed the graduates to the history of natural medicine, efficacy, its practices and limitations.
Also, the Representative of the state government and Special Adviser to the Governor on Maternal and Neonatal Health, Prof. Rose Ezeonbodor-Akwagbe, said the initiative was a welcome development. She said the training would help correct the anomalies associated with traditional medical practice.
He said the graduates have areas of specialization adding that among them were the masseurs, traditional birth attendants and bone setters. She added that the specialization would give them focus to become professionals in their chosen areas.
She said: “These people have been exposed to comprehensive trainings. It means that there will be prevention of infection and other complications will be taken care of. It will decrease our maternal mortality and infant mortality.
“Traditional birth attendants coming from Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw creeks for this training are a good sign that death rates for pregnant women and infants will be reduced.”
She advised the graduates to keep seeking more knowledge. “They should not stop at this level. It is a continuous process. Life is changing. Technology is changing and even their traditional practices are also changing.
“They should continue availing themselves of updates. They should also go back and refine their practices not relying on the old practices of their forefathers. They should adopt the present skills”.
The special adviser also commended the organisers of the programme. She said: “I also appreciate the organisers of the programme. They have done well. It is like breaking of the iceberg.
“It is not easy to gather people from everywhere in Bayelsa because of the geographical terrain. They put on a lot of efforts to be able to get this number. They should not rest of their oars. They should continue with their good work”.