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Bill To Establish College of Alternative Medicine Scales Second Reading In Senate

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N3.9bn Recommended For Take Off
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, May 22, (THEWILL) â€'  A bill for an act to establish the College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Nigeria scaled the crucial second reading in the Senate on Thursday.

Major highlight in the bill, sponsored by Senator Clever Ikisipo (Bayelsa East) is the recommendation of a take-off grant of N3.9bn.

The amount will cover consultancy, capital costs, personnel emoluments, and cost of specialised training for staff, among others.

Leading debate on the bill, Ikisipo noted that the bill was aimed at providing constitutional backing for the Federal College of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, created as an agency under the Federal Ministry of Health in 2007.

He explained that ensuring legislative backing for the college would ultimately complement Federal Government's efforts at encouraging alternative medicine practice which had already been embraced by medical practitioners in most Europe, Asian and African countries.

The college, he said, was saddled with the responsibility of training and retraining alternative medicine practitioners in the health care delivery services.

He also said the institution will carry out clinical and research as well as provide an alternative method of treating ailments.

The senator said, ' Complementary and Alternative Medicine is the branch of medicine whose philosophy is grounded in the enhancement of the body's own healing power through the use of natural means.

'This branch of medicine is coming to the forefront of health care in most Asian countries, African countries, European countries and America today, thus having the effect of a healthier and stronger society and enhancing our very valuable human resources. '

Since its establishment in 2007, he said the college had done research into various remedies that can cure major diseases like cancer, cholera, VVF, as well as advanced management and cure of HIV/AIDS.

Ikisipo however lamented that the college had been producing remedies for ailments over the years without the proper legislative framework necessary for its development and progress.

He said, 'At present, the college is the first of its kind in Africa teaching osteopathy, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Natural Medicine and other related disciplines in one single institution.'

The senator assured Nigerians that the institution is capable of increasing life expectancy in Nigeria from 45 to 75 years based on the quality and effective healthcare services it is capable of providing.

He said the legislative backing would enable the institution to give a proper structure to the required formal training ground for the extremely vital medical input in the country.

Some senators who contributed to the debate described the project as laudable but cautioned against abuse by the extreme traditional medicine practitioners.

Senate President, David Mark, equally cautioned against allowing the alternative medicine practice go beyond using herbs to a different realm.

He said, 'We should be careful. This is because most of the native doctors do incantations and people say they get well. Would you take that as one of the things the College would encourage?

'There are areas where we just need to exercise a bit of caution. Sometimes, when you are sick in the village, they don't give you anything to drink. They just give you something to tie on your waist or to carry in your pocket and then it is assumed that you would recover.

'We should try and be careful so that we don't go beyond the limit. Also I know that for those who come from the South East, in particular in Anambra State or Onitsha, you know they sell medicine there that they say is the killer of 77 diseases.

'Just one small bottle and they market it very well and people buy and it is in hot demand. I think that is the kind of thing the College should look at.

'Establishing the College is not the problem, it is what would be taught in the College and the limit of what would be regarded as the subjects to be taught in the College that I think that we need to look at.

'Maybe after this, we would get another agency that would try and regulate the subject and what will be taught in the College. I think we should all support this Bill.'