The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in partnership with the African Organisation for Standardization (ARSO) has drafted standards for African Traditional Medicine (ATM).
The director general of SON, Mr. Osita Aboloma disclosed at a meeting of experts in the field of alternative to orthodox drugs at the University of Benin, Nigeria under the auspices of the National Mirror and Technical Committee (NMTC) for the harmonization of standards on ATM.
Aboloma disclosed that meeting was the 7th since SON inaugurated the committee in 2015 to develop and harmonize Nigeria’s position on the standardization of ATM at the continental level.
He stated that the unrelenting efforts by ARSO member countries would be to ensure that ATMs become safe alternatives in the management of health issues, particularly within the continent.
Draft standards for discussion at the meeting according to the SON boss featured, baobab, bitter almond, zobo, efirin, cashew leaves, cashew seeds/nut, cashew apple, African bush mango – ogbono, bitter leaf, bitter kola and zogale.
He said Nigeria’s participation had contributed to the publishing of 11 ARSO Standards on African Traditional Medicine, where ten have been adopted for use in Nigeria.
These include good manufacturing practice for herbal medicines; guidelines on good agricultural and collection practices; minimum requirements for registration of traditional medicines; certification scheme for medicinal plant produce and safety, efficacy and quality of raw materials and herbal medicines among others.
The ATM committee which comprises experts from 28 organisations covering the academia, research institutes, regulatory agencies, professional associations in health care delivery and the private sector, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) practitioners, is chaired by Prof. Maurice Iwu, pharmacologist and chief executive officer of the Bio Resources Development Group (BDG).
SON provides the secretariat for the committee’s activities while the meetings are voluntarily hosted on rotational basis by member organisations, as part of their contributions to standards development efforts in Nigeria for ATM.
It would be recalled that SON, in its bid to bring back the glorious days of cocoa which used to be one of the major foreign exchange earners for Nigeria at an International Standards Organisation (ISO) technical committee meeting held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on “Sustainable and Traceable Cocoa’, partners ISO and relevant stakeholders in the cocoa industry to draft series of standards in sustainable and traceable cocoa beans.
The agency stated that the move was coming on the heels of its renewed focus to drive agricultural development in Nigeria.
Aboloma who was represented by the director, business support services, SON, Mrs. Margaret Eshiett, stated that the draft ISO 34101 series of standards was aimed at specifying requirements for a management system for the farming of cocoa beans, making production more sustainable.
He added that the draft standard features a dynamic farm development plan, using a stepwise approach to improve the economic, social and environmental impact in the coca value chain.
The series, according to him, will help support the professionalism of cocoa farming around the world and support cocoa farmers to produce sustainably.
Aboloma further said when work is completed on the standards, the use of the ISO 13401 series of standards would have valuable impact on the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families, adding that it would help them transform their farms into economically viable businesses