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Alternative medicine practitioners allege marginalisation of members by Medical Council

Published by Guardian on Wed, 11 Jan 2012

COMPLEMENTARY and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Stakeholders Forum has decried the lopsidedness in the composition of Medical and Dental Council regretting that only 15 CAM practitioners have been registered by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) in 20 years.The forum, however, called the enactment of a separate Council and establishment of a Central Alternative Medicine Board for all practitioners to put an end to the marginalisation of its members.The forum also condemned the illegal interference of MDCN in the affairs of CAM in Nigeria and call on well meaning Nigerians and the Justice Ministry to prevail on MDCN to obey order of a court of competent jurisdiction that had removed CAM matters away from MDCN.National Coordinator, CAM Stakeholders Forum, Dr. Isaac Ayodele, in a press statement said: 'Sadly, very sad, up till now, the Federal Ministry of Health is yet to obey the Lagos State High Court order to establish a Central Alternative Medicine Board for all practitioners of alternative medicine.'Instead of obeying the court order not to control alternative medicine, MDCN has been intimidating CAM practitioners. For close to 20 years, MDCN has only been able to reluctantly, register 15 Alternative Medicine Practitioners in Nigeria.'CAM is a branch of natural medical system. It is one of the Tripod Medical Systems recognised and promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the other two being allopathic medicine and traditional medicine. CAM comprises fields of study such as naturopathy, homeopathy, osteopathy and acupuncture just to mention a few.However, the Federal Government, faced with the task of protecting the teeming masses patronising and benefiting from CAM treatments in 1992 by Decree 78, amended the Medical and Dental Council Practitioners Act [CAP 221] laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1988 and saddled MDCN with the additional responsibility of supervising and controlling the practice of Homeopathy and other forms of alternative medicine. For avoidance of doubt and ambiguity, the Decree went ahead to interpret 'alternative medicine' in the law as 'naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture and osteopathy.'Ayodele said that CAM Stakeholders Forum in Nigeria had been demanding for the enactment of a separate Council to put an end to the torture of its members. He explained: 'The Bill for an Act to establish Alternative Medicine Council of Nigeria to promote the growth and regulate the practice of Alternative Medicine and for other matters connected therewith' sponsored by Gozie Agbakoba which has gone through the second reading in the House is considered by CAM Stakeholders as the way out of the debacle. The forum has made calls on the National Assembly to ensure the speedy passage of the Bill.'Ayodele said that CAM practitioners were not enemies of The Federal Ministry of Health, but were also friends of MDCN, their love for conventional medical practitioners too had no bounds but they should not be treated as terrorists in their own country. 'We should also not be treated as nonentities or illiterates. We are very versed. We are graduates of recognised institutions and universities. Similarly, we CAM stakeholders in Nigeria have realised that rancor is not the way to advance our course. We have therefore ended the era of discord among us and we are prepared to work with the Federal Ministry of Health to move Complementary and Alternative Medicine to greater heights,' he said.He further explained: 'CAM is the father of medicine. It is in fact the authentic orthodox medicine. We should remove politics from medicine. Let us stop toying with human lives. CAM has been in existence before the conventional medicine no doubt but CAM never resisted the advent of the conventional medicine. CAM is unique, so also are its methodologies.'You cannot always use the standard of conventional medicine to standardise CAM. It might also help to recall medicine's own history, as its emergence as a scientific, evidence-based discipline is both very recent, and very much a work in progress. This is a journey that at least some CAM therapies have already begun and it will grow naturally.
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