Media houses in Nigeria need to forewarn western medical practitioners who advertise on their platforms. This is because it is becoming common that, for many of them, the way to promote their imported pharmaceuticals and medical equipment is to bad-mouth the products of traditional medical practitioners. I think any attack by western medical practitioners on traditional medical practitioners amounts to belittling what’s indigenous to us. No serious nation should permit this. Science and modern medicine are helpful, but I don’t think western medical practitioners who make money from them have any right to talk down on what others do.
The other time, one Nigerian medical doctor was promoting his imported surgical equipment on TV and his method was to bad-mouth the products of traditional medical practitioners. I’m not convinced this person needs to talk like this in order to promote his imported equipment. Yet he did. I suppose it’s because there’re no restrictions against this on our media platforms. Anyone comes, casts others in a bad light, and no one warns them. It’s a trend that has been going on for some time among western medical doctors, especially those who don’t see anything good in what is traditional, natural, indigenous.
I did make submissions on this page regarding this issue several times in the past. I don’t belittle traditional medicine because I know it works. I don’t belittle what is indigenous because I believe when we source solutions here, we don’t take our money outside to enrich other nations. But some who are trained in western medicine don’t have this worldview. They import what they don’t contribute to making, and because they want patronage they demean what is ours. It’s a mentality I condemn in every way possible. These are people whose parents and grandparents lived into their ripe old age by using herbs that are ours. But they forget all of that and start bad-mouthing what we have. Note that the same indigenous traditional solutions are what, for instance, the Chinese have and they make billions of dollars out of. In Nigeria, what is traditional is projected as bad by those whose narrow view of everything is exactly that – narrow. They do this often because no one calls their attention to what they miss, no one engages them in debates that make them examine what they say that mostly aren’t thought through.
It’s worthwhile to remember that many herbs used earlier on to develop some drugs in the western world were taken from the tropics which included places such as Nigeria. Later, artificial versions of properties in these herbs are made in labs and this is how some western drugs become exclusively made in these western nations. But we still have the natural and original thing here, which I know from scholarly writings are less dangerous to the human body than the artificial equivalents. I watched a documentary where a western scientist was lamenting the rate of destruction in parts of Nigeria of some rare plants with rare medicinal properties. Some of these plants haven’t even had their properties fully researched and documented. But they are being rapidly destroyed. Here, many don’t care, particularly Nigerians trained in western medical practice who import all things for their business while they dismiss what we have here.
The reader would understand why I take on this topic if they understood that I believe in what is natural 100 per cent, as well as in the saying that “prevention is better than cure.” Use what is natural for preventive and curative purposes and it saves anyone the headache of depending on drugs made with chemicals. It’s been my experience for decades. What is natural is plenty here, but western medical practitioners who want to make money from what they import won’t tell you this.
They won’t openly tell you to watch what you eat, live a balanced life, rather than depend on expensive drugs. They won’t tell you that those plants and trees in your neighbourhood are medicinal and can deal with the same issues they ask you to purchase expensive drugs for. These guys must sell drugs and use hi-tech equipment that they import to Nigeria on you, so they won’t take their time to tell you these things. Someone lost his wife and he told me that it was after this unfortunate incident a western medical practitioner sat him down for a talk. This western medical practitioner told him that living on drugs perpetually isn’t really safe. After years of using the same drugs for an ailment, the blood vessels of the listener’s wife became blocked with residue such that further uses of the same drugs didn’t deal anymore with the ailment. Most western medical practitioners wouldn’t ever mention this.
This silence by western medical practitioners over natural things that people should do in order to prevent dependence on drugs, or even falling ill, was something I called attention to during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. That time, the World Health Organisation announced that people should stop taking alcohol, ostensibly to prevent COVID-19 infection, because it wasn’t effective. My question in my column then was: So what should people take so that they could prevent catching COVID-19? (The PUNCH, April 17, 2020). At the time, one Nigerian – long on insults, short on reasoning – and with the usual narrow view called me names for expecting doctors and the WHO to tell people what natural things to take in order to prevent falling victim of COVID-19.
After another column that I wrote the WHO responded by saying people should eat foods that were natural and exercise as well, in addition to observing other COVID-19 protocol (See: “Straight-talking WHO and doctors are what we need”,Freelanews, May 1, 2020). Note that the WHO mentions foods that are natural. I’ve always believed in the positive health effects of foods that are natural long before the WHO said it. I also know that our people know herbs that can take care of most aliments, and in the past I mentioned on this page how herb preparations used by our people assisted people close to me to recover. I witnessed it as a child. I grew up believing in what our people were able to use herbs to achieve. Nature didn’t give only the white man ability to find cure to ailments. Nature gave black man too. But some black people belittle this because they import western drugs and hi-tech medical equipment with which they make money.
My conviction that the black person has vast knowledge in the area of curative medicine is one reason I would advise any Nigerian to take natural herbs to prevent or treat ailments rather than swallow drugs ceaselessly. Apart from the known argument about the right doses to take, natural herbs hardly have any side effects; but most processed drugs do. These are the same natural herbs used by traditional medical practitioners whose work some Nigerian western-trained medical practitioners bad-mouth.
It’s only in Africa people pull down what is theirs which they ought to promote. I suppose, particularly in the area of medical practice, people who are raised swallowing drugs for anything and everything have no problem doing this. There’s no problem since it’s the only solution they believe in. No one stops them from maintaining their sophisticated taste. But they should abstain from talking down on what others believe in. These include the use of African traditional medicine, which is essentially made up of herbs and roots. It’s cheaper and easier to access for millions of Africans especially with the known dearth of hospitals in remote locations. If traditional medications don’t work for them, they wouldn’t have so many practitioners around offering such.
Traditional medications work, for instance, for the Chinese and it’s one reason that sector of the medical industry continues to boom in that nation. The Chinese government doesn’t discourage it, and I’m sure no western medical practitioner in that nation will go on air to bad-mouth what is indigenous to China. They call for improvement in traditional medical practices, but they don’t dismiss them. I think it’s high time media houses in Nigeria forewarned advertisers on their platforms to concentrate on what they know rather than bad-mouth others. They should leave others to what they too know.