June 24, 2024

Stream Health Care

It Looks Good On You

Niger traditional medicine practitioners want govt to weed out quacks

5 min read

The presence and activities of traditional medicine dealers and practitioners are prominent features in the northern region.

Arewa PUNCH rèports that in Niger State for instance, this category of alternative medicine practitioners can be seen and identified from every corner of the state blasting loud their different sets of musical equipment and horn to announce their presence and call attention to their different range of products.

It is a common sight to behold them brandish one particular herbal concoction or the other on powder form while boasting of their efficacy and potency.

Often times, the allude to these advertised herbal concoctions different ‘powers’ such that passersby are usually left with mouth wide agape as they listen to the different  advertising gimmicks claiming such concoctions have the power to cure all the known and unknown diseases and ailments.

Unsuspecting patrons who usually have been nursing undiagnosed sicknesses run to them for solutions to their ailments without giving any thought to the associated dangers inherent in the supposed ‘potency’ and claims of remedy of these concoctions and powdered products.

Arewa PUNCH’s findings on this issue indicates that one major challenge agitating practitioners of traditional medicine practitioners and their products in Niger State is the proliferation of these fake healers of every kind of illnesses.

According to Salisu Haske, a traditional healer, and the chairman of Kofar Delili, one of the many associations created by these healers, who spoke with Arewa PUNCH, he insisted that except the government wades in to screen the practitioners and regulate their activities, the lives of their customers and patrons may be in jeopardy

Our correspondent’s further findings show that most of the residents who resort to these traditional healers do so mainly because they can not afford the high fees and the rigours associated with the orthodox medical practices.

As such, over time, they have come to trust these traditional healers and are not bothered about the type of ‘healing’ they get.

While speaking with Arewa PUNCH on the sad situation of the practice of fake ones among them, especially in Niger State, the sitting chairman narrated: “My name is Salisu Haske. I am the chairman of the Niger State traditional healers association Kofar Delili. I have been practising for 45 years, but I am less than two months old as chairman of the association.

“It was the people who invited me to be their chairman in order to bring about good change in the traditional healing practice in Niger State.

“Many traditional healers are not happy about the way some members are dragging the name of traditional medicine practice to the mud by doing the wrong things against their clients and also laying claims to do what they cannot do or carry out unacceptable practices.

“For instance, some traditional healers will say they want a woman to take bath in her room with his medicine. That one is not good. Some of them can say they want to write something on their penis and sleep with a woman so that she can become pregnant,  that one is also not good.

“These are evil and wrong practices. Such things are very bad for our image as an association and individual personalities.

“Some of these get-rich-quick practices are the reasons why some of the practitioners want the government to come in and sanitise the industry.

“Many of these fake practitioners did not get any training. They will just come to the associations, buy certificates, and begin to claim that they are traditional doctors. They will just set up a space and begin to advertise for people to patronise them. It is spoiling our image.

This is why we need the government to be involved in this issue of the proliferation of traditional healers in Niger State. The government should be involved.

“They should investigate people who parade themselves as traditional healers. Such traditional healers are supposed to pass through government scrutiny so that government can find out who the person is, where he is coming from and what area of interest he wants to pursue in the practice,” Haske advised.

He disclosed further that he also plies his trade in other countries outside Nigeria, especially French speaking countries such as Mali and Benin Republic.

He pointed out that traditional healing practice is more organised in these countries.

According to him, people don’t just begin to practice traditional healing in those countries unless they are trained and have diploma certificates. He informed our correspondent  that the government of those countries are involved in regulating the practice, and so it is difficult to have fake persons practice in those countries.

“My fight is that I want the government to have a hand in the activities of the herbalists. I want the government to screen and investigate the practitioners so that if a person is genuine, he will practice well for a better society. You have a right to invite the Ministry of Health so that you can advise each other.

“If you go to Mali or Benin Republic, in those places, you can see some of the medical doctors. If they see a sickness that is not responding to orthodox medicine, they may advise the patient to go to a traditional healer and assure the patient that the traditional healers can cure you.

“Sometimes, you can see some very good medical doctors come to herbalists to get cure for some of their patients,’ but we Nigerians, we can not get that one.

“Like I said, we have many associations of traditional healers. I am Kofar Delili, we have Moda, 90MP, and more. If you are Moda and I am Kafor Delili, I can’t challenge you that what you do is not good. You have a right to tell me that I am Kofar Delili but have no right to challenge you. But if the government is involved in our decision-making process, we have the right to challenge anyone.

“If the government is not involved, how can we challenge one another? Look at Kano now. There are so many associations in Kano where you can learn the work. What is left is for the government to carry out a screening of members of all the associations and have their data. If anyone from any of the associations carry out unethical practice, the government is supposed to weld the big stick. So, the government should create a taskforce for that purpose,” Haske stressed.

Continuing, he insisted, “What I think the government should do is to meet with the top health oficers of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Culture, so that they can come together and call all the traditional healers and carry out a screening and come out with a verdict of  who should be allowed to practice and who should not. This will help to curb fake healers in our association and society,” he concluded.

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