REPORT




         1
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT .............................................................................................................
“Using combined natural and bio-medical therapies to treat stroke, diabetes, hypertension, skeletal
      and other chroni...
All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this Report may be reproduced in any form or by any
means, electronically ...
made remarkable progress in the promotion and practice of traditional medicine as part of their
healthcare delivery system...
CONFERENCE RATIONALE

         Science and technology in the study and practice of conventional medicine continue to aid
i...
Welcome Address by J. William Danquah, President & CEO, Africa First, LLC
         In a welcome address delivered by Profe...
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, (The King of the legendary Ashanti Kingdom)
        Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital




       Prof. ...
He said that one of the major driving forces for the loss and degradation of forests is
centralization of forest managemen...
To mark the role of traditional health practitioners in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, he said
countries of WHO African Regio...
attracting considerable attention to the potentials of harnessing traditional medicine, indigenous
knowledge and the relat...
3. To foster research and development, innovations and capacity building, for the optimal and
       sustainable use of tr...
Fortunately, our legislative frameworks both now and in the past promote rather than prohibit
the use of indigenous knowle...
From the beginning of 2002, I started to have “blackouts” at my work. When that happened, I
would be entirely disoriented ...
gradually increase the doses of Amytriptiline. So from 50 mg. it went to 75 mg. and to 125 mg. and
finally for a short per...
Only my rehabilitation specialist faithfully kept helping me with his exercises. He would teach
me, for example, how to ho...
The test results from Quest Laboratory already confirmed part of Dr. Lugu-zuri’s primary
diagnosis. It mentioned carcinoma...
•   In 2002, when my health problems started to develop, I could not help but intuitively thinking
        back to the hap...
Obviously I spoke with many people about my experience. As a result, a friend of mine became
the agent of Natural Healing ...
Cameroon, Congo, DRC, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda and will soon be
made available to Member St...
of HIV/AIDS, infant oral rehyradtion, and natural family planning. Since 1999, PROMETRA has trained
over 5000 traditional ...
(iv) National Strategic Plan for Traditional and Alternative Medicine Development in
         Ghana

        (v) Research ...
He also said that most healers are not organized and so they are unable to articulate their
positions or promote their mis...
Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission addressing the conference


        He said the Ghan...
definitely affecting serious research on herbal medicine. There is also the belief among herbal
practitioners that interna...
A massive awareness campaign programme - “Three Arms Road Walk” was done to create
Awareness about HIV/AIDS throughout the...
2008 Report Re 2nd Global Summit HIV-AIDS
2008 Report Re 2nd Global Summit HIV-AIDS
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2008 Report Re 2nd Global Summit HIV-AIDS
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2008 Report Re 2nd Global Summit HIV-AIDS

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2nd Global Summit on HIV-AIDS, Traditional Medicine & Indigenous Knowledge, 2008, Africa First

Andrew Williams Jr
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2008 Report Re 2nd Global Summit HIV-AIDS

  1. 1. REPORT 1
  2. 2. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT .................................................................................................................................................................... 4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................................................................................................................... 4 THE TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PRACTICE ACT...................................................................................................................... 5 CONFERENCE RATIONALE............................................................................................................................................................. 6 DAY ONE – MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2008 – OPENING CEREMONIES ..................................................................... 6 Welcome Address by J. William Danquah, President & CEO, Africa First, LLC.............................................. 7 Statement of Dr. Ernest Debrah, the Minister of Food and Agriculture by Dr. Kwame Amezah, Director of Extension Services ............................................................................................................................................... 8 Statement of Dr. Luis Sambo, World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Regional Director by Dr. Joaquim Sewaka, WHO Ghana Country Director.......................................................................................................... 9 Policy Statement of the Government of Ghana by Dr. Mrs. Gladys Norley Ashitey, Deputy Minister of Health, Republic of Ghana...................................................................................................................................................... 10 DAY ONE - MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2008 - FIRST PLENARY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SESSION .... 13 Alfons de Wert’s recovery experience at Natural Healing Center, Accra, Ghana, from Parkinson’s disease and lung embolism................................................................................................................................................... 13 “Implementation of the Regional Strategy for African countries on promoting the role of Traditional Medicine in Health Systems” by Dr. Ossy M.J. Kasilo, Advisor, Traditional Medicine Programme, World Health Organization Africa Regional Office ..................................................................................................... 19 “Contribution of PROMETRA International in the fight against epidemic, endemic and emerging diseases" by Traditional Dr. Togbega Dabra VI, CEO, Association for the Promotion of Traditional Medicine Ghana.......................................................................................................................................................................... 20 “Traditional Medicine in Ghana versus Conventional Medicine in the fight against Chronic Diseases: The struggle and controversy” by Godfred Yaw Boateng, General Secretary, Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Association ....................................................................................................................................... 21 “Collaboration between scientists and healers – what approach is possible?” by Essossiminam Lakassa, Representative of Togo Traditional Therapeutic Medicine Practitioners Association .......... 22 DAY TWO – MARCH 11, 2008 - SECOND PLENARY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SESSION................. 23 “Ghana AIDS Commission's expectations of Traditional Medicine in the fight against HIV/AIDS” by Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, Director-General, Ghana AIDS Commission.................................................. 23 “Control of HIV/AIDS in Bayelsa State – The Journey so far” by Honourabloe Rodney Edisemi Ere, Executive Secretary, Bayelsa State Action Committee on HIV/AIDS, Nigeria.............................................. 25 "The overview of the global AIDS epidemic: The sub-Saharan situation and the role UNAIDS expects of Traditional Healers to play in the prevention and eradication of the disease" by Dr. Leopold Zekeng, UNAIDS Coordinator for Ghana ........................................................................................................................ 28 “A Cancer Study Using Garlic, Allium sativum, Cultured Cells and Laboratory Mice as a Model System” by Dr. Emmanuel E. Brako, Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota, USA....................... 30 ”Mono Sodium Glutamate or (MSG) and its possible connection with many chronic diseases” by Fiona Eberts, Journalist/Founder and Executive Director of Action on Moringa Nutrition in Ghana (AMONG)........................................................................................................................................................................................ 30 “Moringa – its nutritional, health, social and economic benefits to the nations” by Mr. George Zokli of Moffen Consult of Ghana........................................................................................................................................................ 34 Words of Inspiration from Lawrence Sewer of Jewel of the Isles of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands USA ............................................................................................................................................................................................................ 37 “A herbal medicine – NIPRISAN/NICOSAN, for the management of sickle cell anemia” by Professor Charles Wambebe, International Biomedical Research in Africa, Abuja, Nigeria....................................... 37 INTERACTIVE FORUM ON THE OVERVIEW, DYNAMICS AND IMPACT OF HIV/AIDS AND OTHER CHRONIC DISEASES ON THE DEVELOPING WORLD. .................................................................................................... 40 DAY THREE – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, MARCH, 2008 THIRD PLENARY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SESSION .................................................................................................................................................................... 46 “HIV AND AIDS – Traditional Medicine & Indigenous Knowledge for Prevention, Care and Cure” by Traditional Doctor Jaiyeola Akintoye of J. Akintoye Herbal Therapeutics Centre, Nigeria ...................... 46 "Searching for Anti-HIV agents among traditional medicines" by Professor Massao Hattori, Institute of Natural Medicine, University of Toyoma, Japan. .................................................................................................... 47 2
  3. 3. “Using combined natural and bio-medical therapies to treat stroke, diabetes, hypertension, skeletal and other chronic diseases – The Amen Scientific Hospital experience” by Dr. Amin Bonsu of The Amen Scientific Hospital, Accra, Ghana.......................................................................................................................... 52 Recovery story of Madam Zainabu Gambo from Lumbago disease at Amen Scientific Hospital ....... 56 “Important medicinal plants for treating endemic diseases: Limitations and prospects in Abia State of Nigeria” by Dr. Mrs. Ezinne Enwereji, College of Medicine, Abia State University, Nigeria................. 56 “Merging Traditional Knowledge and 21st Century Technology in Managing Recalcitrant Diseases” by Gideon Adotey of Aloha Medicinals Inc ...................................................................................................................... 58 “The effect of treating chronic, debilitating and incurable diseases/disorders with natural remedies” by Dr. Ba-Lagi Gregory Lugu Zuri, Natural Healing Centre, Accra, Ghana...................................................... 59 “Malaria – Is there a possible natural cure?” by Dr. Samuel Sasu, Director/Consultant, Healthworks Stress Management Consultancy and Ayurvedic Center, Accra, Ghana........................................................ 61 “Plant Export – The threat and the strategies” by Dr. Daniel Abbiw, Author and Ethnobotanist, Accra, Ghana .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 61 “Eye Yesu Adom - a herbal formula to treat HIV/AIDS” by Madam Victoria Owuo, Indigenous Healer and member of GHAFTRAM, Accra, Ghana.................................................................................................................. 64 DAY FOUR - THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2008 - FOURTH PLENARY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SESSION .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 66 “The advancement of science and cultural education towards social and economic development of Ghana” by Dr. Rexford Osei, Director of Science, Ministry of Education, Ghana.......................................... 66 “The preservation of indigenous knowledge and culture in the development of the Ghanaian society” by Mr. Kwame Anyimadu Antwi, National Commission on Culture, Ghana .................................................... 66 “Organic Farm Training in Ghana – Present and future prospects” by John Owusu, Ministry of Food and Agriculture ........................................................................................................................................................................... 72 DAY FOUR - THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 2008 - FIFTH PLENARY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SESSION ................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 74 “The scope and implications of current laws of Ghana on indigenous knowledge and local entrepreneurship” by Mrs. Grace Issahague, Principal State Attorney, Office of the Attorney General, Republic of Ghana...................................................................................................................................................................... 74 "Benefit Sharing and PIC: the current state of play" by Professor Graham Dutfield, Co-Director, Centre for International Governance, University of Leeds, United Kingdom (This paper was delivered by Professor William O. Hennessey)................................................................................................................................. 75 “How to Turn Intellectual Property Knowledge and Experience into Economic Power and Social Progress in Health and Agriculture: The Secrets Developing Countries and Their Indigenous Peoples Need to Know About Intellectual Property Practices in Developed Countries” by Professor William O. Hennessey, Chair, Intellectual Property Graduate Program, Franklin Pierce Law Center, Concord, New Hampshire, USA.............................................................................................................................................................. 76 INTERACTIVE FORUM ON PROMOTING THE DEVELOPMENT/REVIEW OF JURISDICTION AND PATENT LAWS THAT ADEQUATELY PROTECT TRADITIONAL MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ................................................................................................................................................................................ 82 DAY FIVE - FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2008 - ACTIVITIES MARKING THE CONCLUSION OF THE CONFERENCE.................................................................................................................................................................................... 82 ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS AND NETWORKING ....................................................................................................... 82 Oral presentation of Godfried Kpodo, member of GHAFTRAM on “Gabriel Herbal Mixture”................. 82 AWARD OF CERTIFICATES ......................................................................................................................................................... 86 VOTE OF THANKS ........................................................................................................................................................................... 86 SUMMARY ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 86 CONFERENCE RECOMMENDATIONS: ................................................................................................................................... 87 NEXT CONFERENCE....................................................................................................................................................................... 92 MISSION OF AFRICA FIRST, LLC............................................................................................................................................... 92 CONTACT INFORMATION............................................................................................................................................................ 94 3
  4. 4. All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this Report may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronically or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Africa First, LLC. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Africa First, LLC wishes to express its profound gratitude to the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Health for granting permission to launch this conference in Ghana for the fourth time. We also thank the World Health Organization, the United Nations Joint Programmes on HIV/AIDS, Professor Alex Matter and the Esperanza Medicines Foundations, Fiona Eberts, Founder and Executive Director of AMONG for their financial and technical contributions, without which this conference could not have taken place. We are also grateful to all the resource persons who actually presented at the conference and those who submitted abstracts but could not attend because of budgetary reasons, and many other organizations and personalities who helped in diverse ways to ensure the success of the conference, including but not limited to Professor Kofi Kondwani, Assistant Professor of Morehouse School of Medicine (who graciously served as the conference chairman), Professor William O. Hennessey of Franklin Pearce Law Center through whom Patent Attorney Gerow D. Brill generously donated several volumes of a Handbook on Best Practices - Intellectual Property Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation to the conference for distribution to delegates and agencies of the Government of Ghana, the Ghana AIDS Commission, the African Council of AIDS Service Organizations (which provided free announcement on its website about the conference), Association for the Promotion of Traditional Medicines (PROMETRA), Togo Therapeutic Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association, Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association, Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Ossy MJ Kasilo, Regional Advisor on Traditional Medicine, WHO Regional Office for Africa, Dr. Leopold Zekeng (UNAIDS Accra), Dr. Emmanuel Brako of Winona State University, Professor Masao Hattori and his wife from Toyoma University, Japan, Professor Charles Wambebe, Professor Graham Dutfield, Co-Director, Centre for International Governance, University of Leeds, Janet Khaoya (UNAIDS Geneva), Mr. Peter Arhin, Mr. George Agyemfra, Rose Mensah and Justice Opare (Ghana Ministry of Health), Dr. Rexford Osei of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Kwame Amezah of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr. John Owusu of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Samuel Sasu, Mr. Daniel Abbiw, Mrs. Grace Issahaque of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Kwame Antwi Anyimadu of the National Commission on Culture, Dr. Ezinne Enwereji of Abia State University, Nigeria, Traditional Doctor Jayieola Akintoye of Nigeria, Honourable Rodney Ere of Bayelsa State Action Committee on AIDS, Nigeria, Dr. Amin Bosu of Amen Scientific Hospital, Dr. Ba-Lagi Lugu-Zuri of Natural Healing Centre, Mr. Gideon Adotey of Aloha Medicinals Inc, Mr. Peter Avinu of Peter’s Herbal Centre, Mr. George Zokli, Mr. Kojo Eduful, Godfred Y. Boateng, 1st Vice President and General Secretary respectively of GHAFTRAM, Owusu Achaw (Major retired) and Mr. Kofi Attu. We also thank the management and staff of Fiesta Royale Hotel for their warm hospitality. Our special thanks go to Mr. Alfons de Wert and Madam Zainabu Gambo who graciously shared with the conference their personal experiences as victims of different ailments and the role traditional medicine played in their healing process. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The activities of the 2nd Global Summit on HIV/AIDS, Traditional Medicine and Indigenous Knowledge began from Monday, March 10, 2008 and ended on Friday, March 14, 2008 at the Fiesta Royale Hotel, Accra, Ghana, The choice of hosting the conference in Ghana was because of the Government of Ghana’s support for the event and also of the fact that Ghana is one of the few African countries which have 4
  5. 5. made remarkable progress in the promotion and practice of traditional medicine as part of their healthcare delivery systems. The Government of Ghana on 23 February 2000 passed the Traditional Medicine Practice Act 595. THE TRADITIONAL MEDICINE PRACTICE ACT The Act establishes a council to regulate the practice of traditional medicine, register practitioners and license them to practice and to regulate the preparation and sale of herbal medicines. The Act defines traditional medicine as "practice based on beliefs and ideas recognized by the community to provide health care by using herbs and other naturally occurring substances" and herbal medicines as "any finished labelled medicinal products that contain as active ingredients aerial or underground parts of plants or other plant materials or the combination of them whether in crude state or plant preparation" (31). The Act is divided into four parts (26): Part I concerns the Traditional Medicine Practice Council, including its establishment; function; membership; tenure of members; meetings; the appointment of committees such as Finance, General Purposes, Research, Training, Ethics, and Professional Standards; granting of allowances to members; and the establishment of regional and district offices. Part II covers the registration of traditional medical practitioners. Clause 9 states that no person shall operate or own a practice or produce herbal medicines for sale unless registered under this act. The qualifications for registration are given in Clause 10. Clause 11 provides for the temporary registration of foreigners who have a work permit, satisfy the requirements for registration under this act, and have a good working knowledge of English or a Ghanaian language. The rest of Part II deals with matters concerning renewal of the certificate of registration, suspension of registration of practitioners, cancellation of registration, and representation to the Council. In Clause 13, it is provided that the Minister of Health, on the recommendation of the Council in consultation with recognized associations of traditional medicine practitioners, may regulate the titles used by traditional medicine practitioners based on the types of services rendered and the qualifications of the practitioners. Part III covers matters concerning the licensing of practices: mandatory licensing; method of application and conditions for licensing; issuance and renewal of licenses; acquisition and display of licenses; ownership and operation of a practice by a foreign practitioner; revocation, suspension, and refusal to renew a license and representations to the Council by aggrieved persons; powers of entry and inspection by an authorized inspector; and notification of death to a coroner. Part IV concerns staff for the Traditional Medicine Practice Council as well as financial and miscellaneous provisions, such as the appointment of a registrar, the provision of the Register of Traditional Medicine Practitioners, offences, and regulations. Clause 41 states categorically that the Act shall not derogate from the provisions of the Food and Drugs Board Law PNDCL 305B. Situated on the west coast of Africa, Ghana, a democratically thriving industrial and agricultural African country which covers an area of 239,460 square kilometres with a population of about 22 million, was once famous for gold and European traders therefore called the country "The Gold Coast". 5
  6. 6. CONFERENCE RATIONALE Science and technology in the study and practice of conventional medicine continue to aid industrialized nations in overcoming many health problems. However, despite billions of dollars expended on research and drug development, the cure for many diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer, sickle cell, anaemia, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and mental disorders has been elusive as at this writing. Nations of the under developed world continue to suffer from many diseases on account of high cost of medicine and healthcare. These nations rely on traditional medicine practitioners and local medicinal plants to satisfy their primary health care needs. The rationale for hosting this conference was to continue with the findings of the Global Summit on HIV/AIDS, Traditional Medicine & Indigenous Knowledge hosted in March 2006 in searching for and identifying traditional medicines and practices of established value used in the prevention and management of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer, sickle cell, anaemia, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and mental disorders, for further evaluation of safety, efficacy and meeting quality standards. The other rationale was to promote the review and development of jurisdictions and patent laws that adequately capture intellectual property rights which emanate from Traditional Medicine, international, regional, state, local laws and legislations, taking into account, relevant intellectual property rights regimes to ensure adequate protection for traditional medical knowledge and allowing its sustainable development. This international event, the fifth facilitated by Africa First, LLC, provided opportunities for orthodox doctors and indigenous medicine practitioners who have made claims to natural remedies to treat some of the chronic diseases of the modern day, to introduce such medicines to the conference. The conference was characterized by spirited presentations and animated discussions on herbal therapies and biomedical technologies actually being used by conventional doctors and indigenous medicine practitioners for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer, sickle cell, anaemia, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and mental disorders. The conference also provided opportunities for some of those patients who have received treatment for various diseases from natural medicines and biomedical technology to share their experiences with the audience. The conference was very vocal on the virtual lack of protection for the property and the interests of practitioners in traditional medicine and indigenous knowledge and recommended ways forward. DAY ONE – MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2008 – OPENING CEREMONIES The conference commenced with a meditation exercise conducted by the Conference Chairman, Dr. Kofi Kondwani, Assistant Professor of Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. According to Dr. Kondwani (see his paper submitted at the Global Summit in March 2006), “Meditation increases mental silence while simultaneously allowing the spirit, mind and body to rest and rejuvenate. Meditation has been found to reduce stress, depression, anxiety and blood pressure in African American and other populations. Clinical use of stress management approaches, particularly meditation, is supported by randomized clinical control trials.” {Subsequent days’ sessions were commenced with meditation exercises.} The meditation exercise was followed by prayers offered by Nii Otrinkwa Nyarko, a traditional priest from Sempe Mensah Wei, James Town, Accra and a drama depicting the important role traditional medicine plays in the African society was performed by the Abibigromma Cultural Troupe of the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana. 6
  7. 7. Welcome Address by J. William Danquah, President & CEO, Africa First, LLC In a welcome address delivered by Professor Kofi Kondwani on behalf of Mr. J. William Danquah, he gratefully acknowledged that about 43 local and international practitioners and scholars involved in the practice of both orthodox and traditional medicines accepted invitations to come to Ghana to participate in the conference. They worked so hard to submit abstracts. However, funds could not be procured to cover their travel and boarding expenses to enable all of them to participate in the conference. Hence only a few of the original speakers could come, warranting a change of the original venue, modification of the program, substitution of speakers at the last minute, but with the certainty that in spite of those difficulties, given the caliber of the 29 resource persons available, apart from those representing the Government of Ghana, the World Health Organization and the United Nations, and with the cooperation of the audience, a very informative and enriching experience was generated by the conference. Mr. Danquah took the opportunity to thank all those who had submitted abstracts but were unable to attend the conference. He acknowledged that Esperanza Medicines Foundation contributed $10,000.00 in support of the conference. He thanked Dr. Leopold Zekeng, Ghana Country Coordinator of the United Nations Joint Programmes on HIV/AIDS, who was instrumental in obtaining an approval of a $10,000.00 grant from that organization to support the activity. He also gave special thanks to Ms. Fiona Eberts, Founder and Executive Director of Action on Moringa Nutrition in Ghana (AMONG) for contributing $5,000.00 and granting a loan of $12.000.00 to cover some of the expenses for hosting the conference. He thanked Professor William Hennessey and the Franklin Pearce Law Center in New Hampshire, USA and Professor Graham Dutfield of the Centre for International Governance, University of Leeds, for contributing papers dealing with matters relating to the urgent moral and legal burden that lies on governments the world over to enact appropriate laws guaranteeing the rights and interests of traditional people to indigenous medical knowledge, recognizing the fact that the absence of such laws is discouraging traditional medicine practitioners from sharing their knowledge with the scientific community and as such the full potentials that traditional medicine could bring in the search for natural remedies which may cure and prevent many of the diseases of the modern day seems out of reach. Mr. Danquah acknowledged the kindness of Patent Attorney Gerow D. Brill of Philadelphia USA, who donated several copies of Volumes 1 and 2 of a Handbook on Best Practices - Intellectual Property Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation through the Franklin Pearce Law Center to aid the work of the conference. These handbooks have been distributed not only to some of the delegates of the conference which include representatives of the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Medicine (PROMETRA) of Senegal, the Traditional Therapeutic Medicine Practitioners Association of Togo, but to the following ministries and agencies of the Government of Ghana: Ministry of Health Ministry of Food and Agriculture Ministry of Justice Ministry of Education Food and Drugs Board Ghana AIDS Commission Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association National Commission on Culture Directorate of Traditional and Alternative Medicine, Ministry of Health University of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research Centre for Scientific Research Into Plant Medicine 7
  8. 8. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, (The King of the legendary Ashanti Kingdom) Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Prof. William Hennessey of Franklin Pearce Law Center, New Hampshire, donating Intellectual Property books to GHAFTRAM officers Mr. Danquah gave special thanks to Professor Masao Hattori from Toyoma University Institute of Natural Medicine, Japan, who came with his wife to contribute to this conference. He also thanked Dr. Kofi Kondwani of Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia USA and Dr. Emmanuel E. Brako of Winona State University, Minnesota, USA for contributing to the conference. Mr. Danquah urged the conference to applaud traditional medicine practitioners around the world, for their dedication to service to their communities when it comes to primary healthcare, and their involvement in the global fight to prevent and eradicate the spread of many diseases, despite the lack of resources. He hoped that the conference will provide the necessary avenue where healers can freely bring out their medicines into the open and meet not only with policy makers but scientists and entrepreneurs to negotiate acceptable arrangements whereby resources could be provided not only for testing of their natural products, but that these medicines can be transformed into acceptable dosages, labeled and marketed in keeping with applicable laws. Mr. Danquah announced that Africa First, LLC will shortly open its Medicinal Farm at Tepa Ahafo Ano, Ashanti Region, with the intention of working with traditional medicine practitioners and the scientific community in Ghana and around the world for the purposes of learning about the enormous gifts of natural healing, saving plants for food and health, saving lives and ultimately saving the world. Statement of Dr. Ernest Debrah, the Minister of Food and Agriculture by Dr. Kwame Amezah, Director of Extension Services Dr. Kwame Amezah, Director of Extension Services, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Republic of Ghana, in a statement read on behalf of Dr. Ernest Debrah, the Honourable Minister of Food and Agriculture about the importance of combining scientific and indigenous knowledge in forest resource management and conservation, he stated that forests which now cover about one-third of the world’s land area (about 4 billion hectares), provide wood for timber and fuel, and non-wood forest products including food, fodder and other important social services including recreation, tourism, culture and religion. He said a large number of the world population depends on the forest for their health needs. He said that shrubs and herbaceous plants such as Prunus africanus, Croton, Polyanthus, Bitter gourd, have a range of chemicals that can control the growth of disease carrying organisms. Forest flora therefore, represents a great gift of nature which should be harnessed for the fight against various killer diseases including HIV/AIDs. He said that in spite of their importance, forests are being converted to other uses such as mining, agriculture and oil production. The world looses about 13 million hectares of forest per year. This results in reduction of long-term provision of forest products and services as well as the potential of the forest to regenerate itself. 8
  9. 9. He said that one of the major driving forces for the loss and degradation of forests is centralization of forest management from indigenous communities to the state in Africa. The erosion of customary forest management systems and the rise of state agencies and private companies as forest managers lead to the rapid loss of forests in the 21st century. He said that the capacity for effective application of science and technology is frequently weak in many developing countries. This limitation is due to lack of detailed knowledge in “tree science” compared to our knowledge in food and industrial crops. We have not committed enough resources to the scientific study and management of this very important natural resource although we know that ‘when the tree dies the last person will also die’. There is therefore the need for scientists, specially in Africa, to study the forest ecosystem in order to generate vital information and knowledge necessary for sustaining the forest growth and use. Scientific knowledge can be used to improve and develop the forest ecosystem. However, the end users of the forest must be involved in any scientific or political efforts at forest development and management. Statement of Dr. Luis Sambo, World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Regional Director by Dr. Joaquim Sewaka, WHO Ghana Country Director The next speaker was Dr. Joaquim Sewaka, World Health Organization’s Country Director for Ghana. On behalf of the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo, Dr. Sewaka said that the health challenges in countries of WHO African Region include high prevalence of communicable diseases especially the triad of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis; an increasing burden of non- communicable diseases, a very high rate of maternal and infant mortality; all of which contribute to very low life expectancy in countries of the Sub-Saharan Africa. Other challenges are weak health systems especially with regard to the availability and management of human, financial, and technological resources. He said WHO and its partners have to provide timely guidance and cost effective interventions as well as technical support to countries for adaptation of tools and guidelines to their situations, capacity strengthening including mobilizing technical and financial resources with focus on universal access to interventions for comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services; including the provision of antiretroviral therapy. In some countries traditional health practitioners have been actively participating in the fight against HIV/AIDS prevention and delivering health promotion messages to the communities where they live. The proximity of these practitioners to the community make them reliable strip to support families and individuals in particular for home-based care for opportunistic infection. In order to maximize their potential, he said governments need to create enough space for collaboration with them as full partners, develop coherent policies, put in place regulatory and legislative actions for legal recognition of traditional health practitioners and for ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of their services. This commitment entails the design and implementation of HIV- prevention interventions. Dr. Joaquim Saweka Director of WHO Ghana speaking at the conference 9
  10. 10. To mark the role of traditional health practitioners in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, he said countries of WHO African Region celebrated the Third African Traditional Medicine Day in 2006 with the theme “African Traditional Medicine: Contribution to Preventing HIV Infection”. This theme was in line with the launch that was made by the African Union and United Nations system on 11 April 2006 following the Declaration by the African health ministers in 2005 in Maputo which declared the Year 2006 as the “Year for Acceleration of HIV Prevention in Africa”. He said countries are continuing to conduct research activities in order to produce evidence on safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicines used for the management of malaria, HIV/AIDS, sickle cell anaemia, diabetes and hypertension with WHO support. This evidence is a key to increasing their availability, accessibility and affordability in the context of primary health care. So far, there is no cure for HIV infection or its most severe form of disease - AIDS. The World Health Organization is promoting and supporting the use of combination antiretroviral therapy. When people living with HIV/AIDS take highly active antiretroviral therapy, HIV replication and deterioration of the immune system can be effectively interrupted, and survival and quality of life significantly improved. Such therapy has to be taken continuously and is life-long. WHO remains available to provide technical support to countries to assess safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicines. He said that in recent years there has been an increasing interest in both developed and developing countries in the health care, the economic and trade value of traditional medical knowledge and medicinal plants. The need to protect this knowledge and to secure a fair and equitable sharing of benefits that may derive from it, on mutually agreed terms, have become of concern to governments and national health officials of Member States. This is an area that is very important for our region given the unacceptable high rate of bio-piracy and the inequitable sharing of benefits accruing from the use of traditional medical knowledge and biological resources. In order to address these concerns, the Regional Office has developed Guidelines on national policy on protection of traditional medical knowledge and access to biological resources and the WHO draft Model Law on the Protection of Traditional Medical Knowledge and Access to Biological Resources for adaptation by countries to their situation. At global level, WHO has established an inter-governmental working group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property to develop a global strategy and plan of action. This was in response to the World Health Assembly resolution (WHA59.24) on public health, innovation, essential health research and intellectual property rights: towards a global strategy and plan of action. That resolution emphasized on priorities and collaborative initiatives in research and development. The global plan of action offers a good opportunity for countries to articulate health research relevant to the African Region. The current realistic and effective strategy to stem the spread of HIV infection in the sub-Saharan Africa is the combination of intensification of HIV prevention efforts with scaling up of treatment and care. Traditional Medicine can contribute to improving the health of African peoples particularly in primary health care. More research is required to determine the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicines that have been found to help people living with HIV/AIDS. Countries need to adapt who guidelines and tools to their individual situation for the development national laws for the protection of the custodians of knowledge medical knowledge and biological resources. Policy Statement of the Government of Ghana by Dr. Mrs. Gladys Norley Ashitey, Deputy Minister of Health, Republic of Ghana On behalf of the Government of Ghana, Dr. Mrs. Gladys Norley Ashitey representing the Honourable Minister of Health, Major Courage E.K. Quashigah (Rtd), welcomed all the participants. She noted that this conference was the fourth time Africa First had initiated a conference in Ghana. She congratulated the CEO of Africa First, Mr. William Danquah and the sponsors for 10
  11. 11. attracting considerable attention to the potentials of harnessing traditional medicine, indigenous knowledge and the related genetic resources, in solving old as well as new challenges that affect the health and nutrition of developing countries. She also informed the conference that Africa First is cultivating a 120-acre land at Tepa in Ahafo-Ano District of Ghana with medicinal plants with the aim of providing raw material for research and development and as a practical demonstration of his commitment to the preservation of medicinal plant resources. This is done with the realization that the convergence of modern technological know- how and the indigenous knowledge by which generations of Africans have survived until the last 200 or so years, would continue to be important in our development. Deputy Health Minister Gladys N. Ashitey addressing the conference This realization emanates from the recognition of indigenous knowledge as having intrinsic value of social, scientific, ecological, cultural, technological and educational significance. For a sizeable proportion of our population, Traditional Medicine continues to play an important role in their intellectual, health, agricultural and commercial activities. It is in line with this recognition that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has set up the Inter-governmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources (IGC-IP-GR), Traditional Knowledge and Folklore to discuss and prepare policy objectives and core principles and approaches for developing indigenous knowledge. Following that and in pursuance of the ideals of the famous Alma Ata Declaration in 1978 and other later resolutions, the WHO has also set up the Inter-governmental Committee on Public Health, Health Innovations and Traditional Knowledge, to deliberate on the elements of traditional knowledge that are of significance to public health and from which innovative health products can be derived from the associated genetic resources including microbiological processes. In the African Region, we recognize the work that WAHO, WHO-AFRO and the Commonwealth Secretariat have done; all aimed towards promoting the development, documentation and protection of traditional medicine knowledge. Ghana has been working with a ten year strategic plan which is running in its second phase (2005-2009). This period seems to correspond with the African Union Decade of African Traditional Medicine. The strategy would be reviewed in 2010, to bring it in harmony with global trends and trends in the Region and Sub-region. Through a sector-wide collaborative effort of several stakeholders and under the sponsorship of the Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank with considerable input of the WHO-AFRO, a policy and policy guidelines are being prepared for handling genetic resources and traditional knowledge, with special reference to their application in health and agriculture. The objectives of this policy will be: 1. To ensure access, sustainable livelihoods, and equitable sharing of benefits from traditional knowledge related to plant genetic resources. 2. To facilitate rights protection of individuals, communities and the nation, through a suitable legal and administrative framework, for the use of traditional knowledge and the related plant genetic resources. 11
  12. 12. 3. To foster research and development, innovations and capacity building, for the optimal and sustainable use of traditional knowledge and plant genetic resources. 4. To promote public awareness and facilitate advocacy for the development of traditional knowledge and the sustainable use and conservation of plant genetic resources. The guidelines would focus on documentation of traditional knowledge and the related genetic resources, conditions for access, benefit sharing arrangements, institutional arrangements for administration and enforcement. Meanwhile, on the global front, for sometime now, the focus has been on capacity building, knowledge sharing, skill acquisition, technological transformation and transfer, and global partnerships in fighting the scourge of communicable epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, H5NI-Bird Flu Virus and other tropical diseases such as malaria. There are obviously wide gaps in medicinal and diagnostic products, treatment procedures that need to be filled. We are also aware of the interest in improving interventions to prevent and control chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, degenerative and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The socio-economic burden and the direct and indirect cost of these preventable diseases weigh heavily on our nations. In response to this, and in line with the national vision of accelerating growth and wealth creation to reach a $1,000 per capita GDP by 2015, the Honourable Minister of Health in 2006 launched a special health program dubbed “The Regenerative Health and Nutrition Programme.” The program is being carried out in collaboration with an African Hebrew Community in Israel, who has been able to prove that by adopting indigenous healthy lifestyles, eating plant-based diets and practicing personal and environmental hygiene, a community can completely eradicate preventable diseases. They have been able to prove that the practice can be replicated in Africa by establishing a similar community in Benin. The program which has been piloted in 10 out of about 165 districts in Ghana, seeks to use social mobilization and behavior change communication, aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles with regards to nutrition, exercises, personal and environmental hygiene. She said the benefits of the program when it succeeds, will be in line with the Millennium Development Goals, particularly that of reducing maternal and under five mortality rates. These goals fall in line with the overall strategic objectives (2007-2011) of our local health policy of creating wealth through health by: 1. Promoting healthy lifestyles and environment 2. Up scaling the high impact rapid delivery with emphasis on quality of health delivery, sexual and reproductive health, child-health and nutrition services 3. Strengthening of health systems capacity and the local health industry with emphasis on human resources training and innovative products. 4. Fostering good governance and sustainable financing schemes. She hoped that this conference would contribute to raising awareness to these challenges and solutions that are tried-and-tested, particularly through the application of innovations emanating from helpful but harmless indigenous knowledge systems. 12
  13. 13. Fortunately, our legislative frameworks both now and in the past promote rather than prohibit the use of indigenous knowledge products and practices that are not injurious to health and life. We are however not ignorant of other incidental, indirect and intangible benefits and adverse effects if they are not properly regulated. The institutional research and administrative framework and regulatory capacities in Ghana which are being developed would have reached the peak this year, with the setting up of a functional Traditional Medicine Practice Council and 2 pilot centres for the public practice of herbal medicine in healthcare delivery. The human resource is ready with the completion of the internship of 10 B.Sc. Herbal medicine graduates and the availability of the selected herbal medicine products. At least two senior medical officers who have also undertaken post graduate studies in herbal medicine are fully engaged in herbal medicine research and clinical practice at the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine at Mampong-Akwapim in Ghana. We however expectantly recognize the benefits that we can derive from such a convergence of like-minders, expertise, experiences from countries and international organizations with sponsorships from around the globe. The opportunities for networking, friendships and information-sharing will be important to us. We appreciate you and the efforts you have made for making yourself available and for the technical and material support. It is our hope that with this partnership, the aims and objectives of this conference would be achieved. On this note, the 2nd “Global Summit on HIV/AIDS, Traditional Medicine and Indigenous Knowledge is duly opened, she concluded. The Deputy Minister then cut the ribbon to officially open the exhibition hall, followed by lunch break. DAY ONE - MONDAY, MARCH 10, 2008 - FIRST PLENARY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SESSION Identifying the challenges, successes and failures of indigenous healing practices in the contemporary world; Alfons de Wert’s recovery experience at Natural Healing Center, Accra, Ghana, from Parkinson’s disease and lung embolism BECAUSE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS NARRATION TO THE OBJECTIVES OF THE CONFERENCE, WE HAVE REPRODUCED IT IN FULL. My name is Alfons de Wert; I am a 58 years old Dutchman, married, and I have 3 children. I have a commercial - managerial background and presently I work as Administrative Manager for Natural Healing Centre in Accra, as a volunteer. My story began in March 2000 in the Netherlands, Europe. Three companies merged into one new big organization with 350 personnel. Two months after this merger, I started to work for that organization as the administrative manager. In a post- merger situation, my new job came with a heavy workload and a lot of stress. In early 2001 my job had gradually reduced my life to only 2 basic activities: working and sleeping. My steadily dwindling energy level had forced me into this “survival” mode of working and resting, depriving me of social activities. I thought the heavy and intense workloads, and the traveling time, were to blame for that, however, I enjoyed my work and continued. 13
  14. 14. From the beginning of 2002, I started to have “blackouts” at my work. When that happened, I would be entirely disoriented and confused, not knowing where I was or what I was doing there, as if my brain was temporarily shut down. After returning to a “state of realization”, I felt empty and powerless to do any of my tasks, and my office and my responsibilities scared me. However, as I always recovered from these fits, I figured that with a little more rest, it might prove to be only temporary. So I slept a little more and actually did not take my blackouts seriously. Besides, I wanted to be loyal to our hard working director and management team. Alfons de Wert, a Dutch national, sharing his story of recovery from Parkinson’s disease with treatment from Natural Healing Centre, Accra, Ghana On Friday the 22nd of March 2002, it happened again, this time more seriously than before. I became confused and unable to think or handle anything properly any more. In that state of mental paralysis I decided to discuss my situation with my director. He sent me home and told me that he did not want to see me again until after a consultation with my doctor. I phoned a doctor friend and described to him the incidents at my work and asked him to give his opinion. The following Monday I went to see my family practitioner. Both doctors gave me the same diagnosis: I suffered from a “burnout” and thus I had to stay home and take at least 1 month of total rest. After that, they reassured me, things would return to normal. Not working was like something unnatural to me; I always want to do something, no matter what. But now I was forced to do absolutely nothing, only to relax my mind and my body, and to recover. During the first few days of my “compulsory vacation” I lived in my usual work pace, but gradually I started to unwind anyway and to take things more easily. In the following weekend, my condition deteriorated so drastically due to total exhaustion, bodily pains and high fever, I was hardly able to move out of my bed. This condition lasted the whole weekend - from that time onward, intense mental and physical fatigue continued to dominate my existence. Soon I started to lose control over my right hip and right leg, resulting in just a light limp initially. After a month or so, my limp became permanent and increasingly worse. And before long, sharp pains started to accompany the malfunctioning of my right leg and hip. My family practitioner could not understand it. She even thought that I was simulating my illness, so one day she simply and bluntly ordered me to stop my “funny walk”, as she called it. But of course, that did not solve my problem. Soon I could not walk without permanently using my large umbrella as a substitute walking stick. The problem became progressive, my doctors had no idea what to do about it and I got further depressed about it. Then my family practitioner figured that my depression was the cause of my debilitating condition, and hence she prescribed 25 mg. of Amytriptiline (Tryptisol) for the management of my depression, my pains and my sleeping problems. She also sent me to a physiotherapist, but when exercises did not remedy my problems, she sent me to the hospital to see a psychiatrist, a neurologist, a specialist for internal diseases and a rehabilitation specialist. The hospital did a blood test, a CT-scan and a MRI-scan, but none of these tests revealed the cause of my conditions. The psychiatrist confirmed the doctor’s view: I suffered from a depression and it was this sickness, which temporarily caused my debilitating condition. He advised my family practitioner to 14
  15. 15. gradually increase the doses of Amytriptiline. So from 50 mg. it went to 75 mg. and to 125 mg. and finally for a short period even to 225 mg. Both my doctor-friend and my family practitioner found those doses dangerously high, so after a while she brought it back to 150 mg. But like before, nothing helped. After that, to my great horror, my left leg also started to give problems and in stages I also got more difficulties coordinating my arms, hands, etc. and my strength dwindled. Even with crutches, walking became nearly impossible now. Walking on crutches was not a complete solution because after a 150+ meter distance, the pain and the exhaustion became practically unbearable. My limbs also started to shake, and when lifting them above a certain height the same happened with my arms, which made eating difficult, because I would constantly spill food from my spoon or my fork. My eyesight became slightly vague and since then I also had “floaters” in both my eyes. Simultaneously my hearing was affected by a very loud and domineering hissing sound, making (phone) conversations quite tedious, as people repeatedly had to repeat themselves. But as I was living alone, I forced myself to go through the pain and to continue with my shopping, cleaning, etc. In fact, I considered it my exercise to keep my body and mind a bit supple. Next my concentration and my memory started to fade and even the slightest mental excitement would be too much pressure for me. Then my intestines also started to malfunction, followed by other muscles disorders. Later the coordination of my speech gave way to my unknown sickness and that was when I realized that slowly but surely paralysis had taken my whole body in its grip. It was a devastating realization! Paralleled with my physical problems, my sleeping disorders also increased. Every night, during the 1st hour of sleep, I would wake up from nightmares every 20 to 30 minutes. And when switching on the light, scary hallucinations continued to haunt me. I also could wake up with my respiration stopped, forcing myself to breathe again, or with my heart vibrating with the staccato of a machinegun. These problems became so bad, that after a while I became afraid of sleep itself. Another problem building up was what I would describe as “electrical currents”. They would run through my whole face and my mouth, sometimes for hours without interruption. My head and mouth felt like a bundle of “short-circuiting” electricity cables; it paralyzed my facial muscles or triggered them to move and it caused my mouth to drool extensively. Then, in early 2003 I had my 1st lung embolism. I was hospitalized and kept on oxygen for a while. By now my life had turned into a nonstop chain of tortures and it was not worth much to me any longer. My very limited mobility and my speech problems resulted in social isolation, but - to be honest - my hypersensitivity for stress also made me to “actively” isolate myself from people. I simply could not manage the emotional weight of social contacts any more, like joy, shock, excitement, etc., nor could I afford to loose the great amounts of energy, which they were costing me. The other isolating factor was, that my memory slowly faded away, causing me to forget things and people. My loss of short-term memory would even make a normal conversation impossible. So I gradually was completely thrown back on myself and both my body and my brain were giving up. At the same time, one after the other, the psychiatrist, the neurologist and the specialist for internal diseases decided to stop seeing me. The “debilitating effect” of my depression, they reasoned, was irreversible and would affect all my muscles, so they stopped their treatments and consultations. The short term “management” of my continuously declining condition would require a wheelchair and a nursing home and finally, all these medical specialists unanimously predicted, my lungs and my heart would give up and that would be the end of it. 15
  16. 16. Only my rehabilitation specialist faithfully kept helping me with his exercises. He would teach me, for example, how to hold a cup when I rinsed it, how to lift something from a shelf or grab something from a cupboard. Indeed, the things that were simple for children were very difficult for me. Much to my disgust, my body had increased to appalling proportions, only adding - obviously - to my physical and mental problems. Normally my weight would hover around 80 kilo’s, but at the end of 2003 I weighed an impressive 117 kilo’s or 234 (European) pounds. Wireless Internet allowed me, throughout my sickness, to correspond - among others - with my professor friend Asare in Ghana. He told me that he had a doctor-friend, who would be able to help me. The only thing he needed to diagnose my condition was a small hair specimen. Having lived in Surinam, South America, and in the Caribbean area for several years, and having experienced 1st hand what people can do with these kinds of things, I decided not to send anything; I first wanted to see and talk to this doctor. That’s when Prof Asare invited me to come to Ghana. Even the change of air might do me good, he suggested. The trip from Holland to Ghana was very cumbersome, because I needed a wheelchair and people to help me with everything all the time. My parents, who were both in their eighties at that time, brought me to the airport in Amsterdam. It was an emotional good-bye, because from the beginning they disagreed with my decision to go to Ghana; they were convinced they would never see me alive again. I guess in their hearts they went along with the general prejudice about the “dark continent”: “What good can come from Africa?” I arrived in Ghana on December 23rd, 2003, and stayed with the Asare family. The next week Prof Asare took me to Dr. Lugu-zuri at the Natural Healing Centre. As you can imagine, my memory loss and my speech problems made our communications quite tedious and difficult. However, Dr. Lugu- zuri proved to be a gentle and patient man, so for him that seemed no problem. Dr. Lugu-zuri is also a very thorough man. He used several consultations and a blood test on one of his Radionic computers to arrive at his diagnosis and after our last consultation, he also had my blood tested by the Quest Medical Laboratory in Accra. It is interesting to know how these consultations went. I am used to the type of allopathic doctors, who ask several open questions, and who end their short consultations with: “It’s probably this or that. So let’s try medicine X and if that doesn’t help after two weeks, then we will try something else.” Dr. Lugu-zuri’s consultations were a very sharp contrast to those types of consultations. • First, Dr. Lugu-zuri’s consultations easily lasted more than one hour. In the beginning he also asked me open questions, but gradually he started to ask mostly closed questions, which I could only answer with “Yes” or “No”. This indicated to me, that he already knew what my diagnosis was, and that he just wanted to see his diagnosis confirmed with my answers on his closed questions. • The 2nd difference from my experience with Western allopathic consultations was, that when he presented me with his diagnosis, Dr. Lugu-zuri told me with great certainty what I was suffering from, how long it would take him to cure me and what the price tag was. • And the 3rd and greatest difference was that while the Dutch doctors left me with no hope at all, Dr. Lugu-zuri assured me that he could heal me without any doubt. He also told me, that with his treatment - in which he would attack the causes of my multiple diseases - he would root them out once and for all. In other words: after finishing his treatments, my sicknesses would never come back any more. 16
  17. 17. The test results from Quest Laboratory already confirmed part of Dr. Lugu-zuri’s primary diagnosis. It mentioned carcinoma (colon, pancreas, lung and stomach), smokers, non-neoplastic liver disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, but Dr. Lugu-zuri’s Primary Diagnosis – which he reached upon by using very sensitive Radionics equipment – contained many more details like: 1. Dysphasia 2. Paralysis of both legs 3. Cerebral paralysis 4. Abdominal cancers 5. Paralysis of the muscular coats of the intestines, resulting in chronic constipation 6. Impaired vision 7. Cerebral hypertrophy 8. Progressive muscular atrophy 9. Spinal apoplexy 10. Lopus Erythematosis 11. Amnesia Further he mentioned Parkinson’s disease, light epileptic seizures, and some other brain related problems. Actually, if one would spread my diseases over a number of people, they eventually would all succumb to their disease. But contrary to my allopathic Dutch specialists, Dr. Lugu-zuri was optimistic. However, he also proved to be a very realistic and down-to-earth man. From the very beginning, he made it clear to me that I had quite a lot of brain damage. Some of it was caused by the combination of lack of oxygen and heart problems and brain cancers caused the remaining destruction. This is why he said, that he could “only” bring me back to 70 – 80% of my former capacities. For me that was a very hopeful prospect and I decided to go for the treatment. The Primary Diagnosis of Dr. Lugu-zuri was the outcome of testing 200 organs and body-parts, and the second diagnosis, the Detailed Diagnosis, is the result of a deeper search into the problem areas of the Primary Diagnosis. Dr. Lugu-zuri did my Detailed Diagnosis when he commenced my treatment and when he had to determine the diet and the Radionic medicines to be “broadcasted” to me. Together the conditions of the Primary Diagnosis and the ones from the Detailed Diagnosis filled more than an A4-sheet, so one can imagine that designing a strategy to attack the combined causes of all these conditions was quite complicated and hence very challenging for Dr. Lugu-zuri. Let me emphasize here, that Dr. Lugu-zuri’s approach of structurally attacking the causes of diseases has proven time and again to be very effective. His success rate is far above average and yet his approach is fundamentally different from my experience with many allopathic methods. For example: • In 1991 my surgeon first removed a small area of ± 2 cm.2. of suspicious skin tissue. The laboratory tested it and diagnosed me with a “malignant skin cancer” which, they said, was potentially deadly. As a result my surgeon cut away a larger area of 5 by 10 cm. or 2 by 4 inches. That, he explained, should contain any possible metastases. With this second operation he cut away the symptom of the cancer – the sick skin tissue, the result of the cause – but he never investigated nor did he ever attack the actual cause of the cancer. • In 1997, after having monitored the scarred area for metastases for ± 6 years and after having established that other skin samples were also free of cancer cells, my surgeon officially declared me “healed” of cancer. However, when I wanted to donate blood to the Red Cross, and they tested my blood, they found cancer cells in it. For me that diagnosis meant that I was not so “healed” at all, and that sooner or later I might have to deal with cancer again. 17
  18. 18. • In 2002, when my health problems started to develop, I could not help but intuitively thinking back to the happenings I just described. But, even then, in 2002, the Dutch hospital, with all its fancy state-of-the-art equipment, failed to detect the plentiful new cancer cases in my body, which the Quest Laboratory and Dr. Lugu-zuri were able to find quite easily. So, since the Dutch surgeon only cut away the symptom of the cancer and not the cause, he in fact allowed the same cause of the 1st cancer to reap havoc in so many parts of my body. However, if they had attacked the cause of the cancer, new cases would never have had the chance to develop. My treatment by Dr. Lugu-zuri started with my admission at the natural Healing Centre on the 11th of January 2004 and consisted of diet therapy, Radionic medicines and every other day detoxification massages. To make a long story short: on 15th June 2004 I went home again to Holland with the following changes in my condition accomplished by Dr. Lugu-zuri: • I was able to walk again, strong as a young man. • I could speak fluently again. • My head was a lot clearer. • My Parkinson’s disease was gone and never came back, and I can say the same of my light epileptic seizures, my hallucinations, my sleeplessness, my lung embolism, etc. (Dr. Lugu-zuri dealt with the 2nd Lung Embolic attack, which I had in Natural Healing Centre, by means of the Radionic computer and my pains and problems were gone in ± 1½ hours, and I never had an attack ever since.) • I almost lost almost 25 kilo’s of the 117 kilo’s that I was weighing, when I was admitted at Natural Healing Centre As you can imagine, my family was very excited and moved to see me again. Especially the reaction of my parents, who took me to the airport 6 months before to see me taken to the airplane in a wheelchair and who never expected to see me any more after my departure to Africa, were too moved and grateful. What they saw with their own eyes, but could hardly accept with their heads was that a doctor on “the dark continent” accomplished what specialists in Holland could not achieve and that was a drastic improvement of my condition. The reaction of my doctors was not much different. They could hardly recognize me - so enormous was the difference that dr. Lugu-zuri has made in my appearance, my strength, my mobility, my speech, my reasoning, etc. With the exception of my neurologist – who was on the brink of retirement and believed that I just healed spontaneously – they said that this improvement in my condition was nothing but a miracle. My doctor-friend in the east of the country, who I visit every year, still calls my improvement a miracle. Prior to my last visit to him, he even walked behind me for a while without me knowing it, and he said that he still could not understand how Dr. Lugu-zuri was able to bring me from my immobilized condition to a man who walks with the speed of a young man. Until the present day, he always tells me that my healing is nothing short of a miracle. Dr. Lugu-zuri told me in January 2004, that he could only bring me back for ± 70 – 80% of my previous capacities, because the damage in my head was too extensive to accomplish a 100% cure. So, now I still have certain problems with my memory, my concentration capacities (intensity of focus and duration), my mental and physical energy, etc. These things translate into some practical “handicaps”, that I have to learn to accept and to deal with but in general I can say, that Dr. Lugu-zuri has given me back my life. He brought me back from the darkness into the light and at the moment I do voluntary work in Natural Healing Centre as an Administrative Manager. And I have seen may more “miracles” in Natural Healing Centre ever since. 18
  19. 19. Obviously I spoke with many people about my experience. As a result, a friend of mine became the agent of Natural Healing Centre in Holland, and now the first Dutch patients were treated or are still under treatment by Natural Healing Centre. “Implementation of the Regional Strategy for African countries on promoting the role of Traditional Medicine in Health Systems” by Dr. Ossy M.J. Kasilo, Advisor, Traditional Medicine Programme, World Health Organization Africa Regional Office Dr Ossy MJ Kasilo, Regional Adviser in Traditional Medicine at the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Africa presenting on the “Implementation of the Regional Strategy for African countries on promoting the role of Traditional Medicine in Health Systems” (which was adopted by the fiftieth session of WHO Regional Committee for Africa held in Burkina Faso in August 2000), underscored current realistic and effective strategy to stem the spread of HIV infection in the sub- Saharan Africa which is the combination of intensification of HIV prevention efforts with scaling up of treatment and care. The proximity of traditional health practitioners (THPs) to the community make them reliable strip to the community to support families and individuals in particular for home-based care for opportunistic infection. Dr Kasilo focused her speech on achievements and challenges encountered by countries and WHO during the implementation of the five priority interventions of the regional strategy during 2002-2007; which are policy formulation, capacity building, research promotion, local production of traditional medicines including cultivation of medicinal plants; and protection of traditional medical knowledge. Dr. Ossy MJ Kasilo, WHO Afro Advisor on Traditional Medicine presenting at conference She pointed out that with the support of WHO, 21 countries have formulated traditional medicine policies; 18 countries have developed legal frameworks for the practice of traditional medicine; 13 countries have developed codes of ethics and practice for traditional health practitioners; whereas 12 countries have developed strategic plans for implementation of the national traditional medicine policies. In order to support countries translate the regional strategy into realistic national policies, legislation, strategies and plans for specific interventions at national and local levels; WHO developed guidelines for formulation and implementation of national policies; Model legal frameworks for the practice of traditional medicine, Model Code of Ethics for THPs, and development of strategic plan for implementation of national policy. These documents have been combined into one document entitled, Tools for Institutionalizing Traditional Medicine in Health Systems for countries in WHO African Region. She stated that some training institutions such as the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana is offering a Bachelor of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine as part of capacity building for pharmacy students. Other countries such as Burkina Faso, Congo, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria teach some aspects of traditional medicine within the curricula of pharmacy students. In some countries, training sessions for THPs for some aspects of primary health care (PHC) have been organized by ministries of health, associations of THPs and non-governmental organizations. In order to support countries incorporate aspects of traditional medicine into the training curricula of health professionals and embark on continuing education and skills development programmes, WHO has developed Guidelines for Training Health Science Students and Continuing Education of Conventional Health Practitioners and a Guide for Training THPs in PHC. These guidelines have been field tested in 19
  20. 20. Cameroon, Congo, DRC, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda and will soon be made available to Member States for adaptation to their individual situations. She said that countries are at different stages of conducting research and development (R&D) in order to produce evidence on the safety, efficacy and quality of traditional medicines used for HIV/AIDS, malaria, diabetes, hypertension and sickle-cell anemia. In order to support countries conduct relevant research, WHO has selected the above-mentioned priority diseases for whose treatment, research and development and local production must be accelerated and developed research protocols outlined in the WHO guidelines on clinical evaluation of traditional medicines. She went on to say that some countries have reported that some traditional medicines used for helping people living with HIV/AIDS, have been found to significantly reduce the viral load, increase the CD4/CD8 ratio, improve the general conditions of patients and quality of life, among others. However, more research is needed for better interpretation of these results. Dr. Kasilo also stated that some countries in WHO African Region such as Burkina Faso, DRC, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria and South Africa are locally producing in small-scale, traditional medicines used for malaria, diabetes, sickle cell disease, hypertension, food supplements and medicines which are helping people living with HIV/AIDS. The national drug regulatory authorities in these countries have issued marketing authorizations for traditional medicines used for the treatment of the five diseases mentioned above and for respiratory tract infections and hypotension. In order to support countries identify candidates of traditional medicinal products for registration purposes, actively promote in collaboration with other partners, the conservation of medicinal plants and the development of local production of traditional medicines, WHO has developed a Regional framework and plan of action (2006-2010) for development of capacities on local production of traditional medicines and Guidelines for registration of traditional medicines in WHO African Region. Dr. Kasilo emphasized that protection of traditional medical knowledge and access to biological resources in WHO African Region is paramount due to current unacceptable high rates of biopiracy. However, currently there is no agreed framework at international level as to how African traditional medical knowledge should be protected. Many of our traditional health practitioners and indigenous communities are hesitant and sometimes afraid to share their knowledge due to reports on biopiracy, unfair benefit sharing of resources and misuse of intellectual property rights (IPRs). In order to support countries actively promote in collaboration with all other partners, the protection of IPRs and indigenous knowledge in the field of traditional medicine, WHO has developed guidelines on national policy for the protection of traditional medical knowledge and access to biological resources and WHO model law for the protection of traditional medical knowledge and access to biological resources in WHO African Region. “Contribution of PROMETRA International in the fight against epidemic, endemic and emerging diseases" by Traditional Dr. Togbega Dabra VI, CEO, Association for the Promotion of Traditional Medicine Ghana Delivering the paper entitled “Contribution of PROMETRA International in the fight against epidemic, endemic and emerging diseases" on behalf of Dr. Erick Gbodossou, President of the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Medicine (PROMETRA), Traditional Doctor Togbega Dabra VI, recounted the works and achievements of PROMETRA over a period of 3 decades. He said PROMETRA believes that positive progress in the area of health care and health education requires two elements: the right message and the right messenger. In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 85% of the population receives their health education and health care from traditional practitioners. Without a doubt, the traditional healer is the right messenger. The right message is a critical component, especially in the fight to overcome the misconceptions and mistruths that are often spread through charlatans. PROMETRA developed the FAPEG curriculum to provide a cultural competent, scientifically sound training program for non readers. This curriculum covers the subjects 20
  21. 21. of HIV/AIDS, infant oral rehyradtion, and natural family planning. Since 1999, PROMETRA has trained over 5000 traditional healers using this curriculum. Togbega Dabra VI of Prometra speaking at the conference He said Prometra has successfully carried out clinical research study on the efficacy of an African herbal medicine (METRAFAID) in the treatment of HIV positive African population; been able to measure viral loads, CD4 counts, clinical symptoms in three cohorts of 68 adult patients. Vitro study of herbal microbiocide is pending. He said African States should consider the fight against malnutrition as another dimension in the struggle against HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is ravaging the continent. In conclusion, he said Africans should rely upon their traditional knowledge and skills which have helped them maintain epidemiologal balance throughout their history, in fighting HIV/AIDS and other emerging diseases. “Traditional Medicine in Ghana versus Conventional Medicine in the fight against Chronic Diseases: The struggle and controversy” by Godfred Yaw Boateng, General Secretary, Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Association Mr. Godfred Yaw Boateng speaking on the subject “Traditional Medicine in Ghana versus Conventional Medicine in the fight against Chronic Diseases: The struggle and controversy” said that the situation of developing traditional medicine in Ghana might be quite different as compared with many African countries and elsewhere because Ghana is now a shinning example to many countries due to its achievements in advancing traditional medicine to its present level of practice. He said that the operation of traditional medicine centers in their early days in Ghana, then the Gold Coast, were shrouded with a lot of secrecy and controversies due to religion and secular education. The imprisonment of few renowned traditional medicine practitioners for having manufactured herbal products as the ALAFIA Bitters for commercialization in the 1950s, motivated practitioners to form an Association to fight for their rights in the health care delivery system. He said the first Association called Ghana Psychic and Traditional Healers Association, brought all the divine healers and herbalists together under one umbrella. The Government of Ghana, because of the importance it attaches to the development of traditional medicine in the country since indigenous practitioners represents an indispensable partners in the healthcare delivery, has over time, encouraged a newer umbrella the “Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (GHAFTRAM)” to flourish with a national membership of between 20,000 and 40,000 practitioners. The government has also succeeded in the following areas of traditional medicine development: (i) Setting up of a Directorate in charge of Traditional & Alternative Medicine. (ii) Drafted a legal frame work which is backed by Act 575 of 2000. (iii) Code of Ethics for Traditional Medicine Practitioners (TMPs) 21
  22. 22. (iv) National Strategic Plan for Traditional and Alternative Medicine Development in Ghana (v) Research institutions to Research into Traditional Medicine CSRIPM (vi) Graduate Training for Bachelor of Science Herbal studies at KNUST. In spite of the Government’s strong backing for traditional medicine, he said medical doctors in Ghana still see the practice of traditional medicine as ‘unhygienic or unscientific” even though some them quietly seek treatment for themselves or their relatives from traditional medicine practitioners. Godfred Boateng, Secretary General of Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Assn presenting Mr. Boateng said that the question that many people are asking “Is whether traditional medicine could have answers to problems such as cancers, hypertension, diabetes and even HIV/AIDS where modern medicine has failed?” As we would learn from the proceedings of this conference, traditional medicine indeed has many answers to many of the seemingly incurable diseases of the day. He said the most controversial issue in Ghana as it relates to moving traditional medicine to the level where practitioners could effectively and adequately contribute to the national health care delivery system is the setting up of the Traditional Medicine Practice Council which will implement and regulation traditional medicine practice in the country. “Collaboration between scientists and healers – what approach is possible?” by Essossiminam Lakassa, Representative of Togo Traditional Therapeutic Medicine Practitioners Association Speaking on the subject “Collaboration between scientists and healers – what approach is possible?” Mr. Lakassa Essossiminam, representative of the Togo Traditional Therapeutic Medicine Practitioners Association, said that collaboration between healers and scientists is presently difficult because of language barrier and illiteracy on the part of the healers. He said the scientists expect the traditional healers to speak and understand their language and customs. However, the healers have had no training in order to work effectively with the scientist. He said because of this, the views and most importantly, traditional methodologies which could benefit the nations in healing diseases and advance primary healthcare are missed. Lawrence Sewer, Peter Avinu, Essossiminam Lakassa and Alfons de Wert at exhibition grounds 22
  23. 23. He also said that most healers are not organized and so they are unable to articulate their positions or promote their missions in the communities. He made example of the association of traditional medicine practitioners who have organized themselves in Ghana under the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (GHAFTRAM) and are making strides in traditional medicine practice in the country, and suggested that other healers should emulate GHAFTRAM. He said it is essential for the Government, international and local non-governmental organizations, scientists and orthodox medical practitioners to enter into partnerships with traditional healers and to contribute resources for the training of the latter in health education in order to make them not only agents for prevention and treatment of diseases but also health educators in their communities. He said something must urgently be done about the lack of laws to protect the interests of traditional medicine practitioners to enable them feel confident in revealing and sharing their healing preparations to the scientific community for evaluation of efficacy, safety and development into universally acceptable and affordable drugs to the populations in demand of treatment. DAY TWO – MARCH 11, 2008 - SECOND PLENARY SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL SESSION The dynamics and impact of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and mental disorders, on the socio-economy of the developing world. “Ghana AIDS Commission's expectations of Traditional Medicine in the fight against HIV/AIDS” by Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, Director-General, Ghana AIDS Commission Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa serving as the Chairman of this session, stated that the Ghana AIDS Commission appreciates the tremendous efforts being made by herbal practitioners to find “a cure” for HIV/AIDS as well as their contribution to promotion of the health of majority of Ghanaians through the services they offer. This is the reason why Ghana’s Federation of Traditional Medicine Association has a representation on the Commission. He said Ghana like many other countries recognizes HIV and AIDS as a major developmental and human rights issue and as a leading cause of death in Africa with nearly 70% of infected people living in the sub-region. The national prevalence rate of Ghana is 1.9% (2007). In absolute terms about 300,000 HIV/AIDS cases are now reported in Ghana. Of this number 63% are women and girls. The youth contribute about 30% of the national prevalence rate. Currently, about 81,000 of the 300,000 infected people are AIDS patients. Out of the 81,000 AIDS patients about 12,500 are on ART. ART which is not free in Ghana is being administered in 48 treatment sites in the country. Treatment is highly subsidized by government and the patient pays only about GH¢5.00 for a one month’s treatment. Despite the high subsidy some PLWHAs cannot afford payment of the GH¢5.00. Furthermore the health delivery system cannot meet the treatment needs of the PLWHAs. Consequently most of PLWHAs turn to herbal practitioners and other alternative medicare practitioners for help. It is thus obvious that traditional herbal medicine plays major role in the treatment of HIV & AIDS patients in Ghana and their role cannot be underrated. 23
  24. 24. Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission addressing the conference He said the Ghana AIDS Commission on several occasions has emphasized its appreciation of the potential of herbal treatment to supplement orthodox treatment and indicated that it will support research into herbal medicine preparations and its treatment for HIV/AIDS in Ghana. Consequently, the Ghana AIDS Commission has linked up with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in the establishment of a centre for testing of herbal preparations. The centre has conducted a series of tests on herbal preparations referred to it. The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research is also being supported by GAC to conduct research into the effects of Alfalfa Leaf Nutrient cake supplementation on the nutritional status of HIV/AIDS patients. He said the Commission has also provided funds to the Institute of Science and Technology for Africa of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to do a study on “Evaluation of the Potentialities of Medicinal Plants as Anti Retroviral Therapy Against HIV/AIDS in Comparison with the Higher Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy”. Apart from support to the universities, the Commission has provided financial assistance to some herbal practitioners such as Bible Research Sanitarium, MAPS Medical Centre and Prometra for work being done on herbal medicine. He said his Commission’s major worry however is the over enthusiasm of some herbal practitioners in claiming that their preparations and concoctions can “cure” the disease when not much research has been concluded on the preparations. Our major expectation then is that the herbal practitioners particularly the traditional healers need to understand that unless the necessary tests both safety and clinical had been done on the preparations, the Commission cannot promote the preparations. Another expectation of his Commission is that the umbrella organizations such as Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Association and Prometra should take the lead in supporting the Ministry of Health in educating some of the herbal practitioners on the basic information on HIV/AIDS; management of HIV/AIDS, management of opportunistic infections and on HIV/AIDS counseling. I believe that lack of knowledge of and inadequate information on the HIV/AIDS itself is what is driving some of the herbal practitioners to think that the HIV/AIDS can easily be treated with their preparations and make wild claims of discovery of “cures” in our part of the world. Another expectation is how the traditional herbal practitioners can work with scientists or health professionals in developing their preparations. There are more scientific research institutions that can lead research on herbal medicine. However, we recognize that herbal medicine practitioners do not seem to trust our universities, research centers and institutes to entrust their preparations for them to work on. The fear of traditional herbal practitioners that their preparations may be stolen from them by the scientists or researchers is deep. We hope the academicians and other health professionals will find a way of developing the confidence of the herbal practitioners in collaborating with them. GAC believes that it is only through proper collaboration and coordinated efforts that herbal medicine research in Ghana could be effectively promoted. Finally, he said there is the need for international pharmaceutical companies and firms to put their expertise and funds in support of African Traditional Herbal Practitioners as they work towards finding a herbal preparation for HIV/AIDS. This is because there is enough evidence to support the potential in some herbal preparations which can be developed. However, lack of financial support is 24
  25. 25. definitely affecting serious research on herbal medicine. There is also the belief among herbal practitioners that international pharmaceutical companies are apprehensive of the potential of a cure being discovered from herbal preparation and there is therefore a conspiracy on the part of pharmaceutical companies to frustrate the traditional medicine practitioners in their work. If the pharmaceutical companies can provide financial and technical assistance to herbal practitioners, I believe strongly that research into traditional medicine in Africa could yield positive results. Our expectation is indeed high that one day a cure would be found either through orthodox or traditional medicine. “Control of HIV/AIDS in Bayelsa State – The Journey so far” by Honourabloe Rodney Edisemi Ere, Executive Secretary, Bayelsa State Action Committee on HIV/AIDS, Nigeria Speaking on the topic “Control of HIV/AIDS in Bayelsa State – The Journey so far” Honourabloe Rodney Edisemi Ere informed the conference that one of the most challenging health issues on the global scene today that has caught the attention of even non-health professionals, remains the HIV/AIDS pandemic. He said the disease has continued to arouse concern ranging from individuals to governments, private sectors, non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, multinationals, religious and traditional institutions. He said statistical report shows that Sub-Saharan Africa is one largest region hit by the pandemic of which Nigeria is affected. And more especially Bayelsa State in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, which was one of the burden states among the first three states with highest prevalence rate. According to the National HIV Sero-prevalence Survey reports, Bayelsa State has had the following prevalence rates; 7.2% in 1999, 4.2% in 2001, 4.0% in 2003, 3.8% in 2005, and 3.2% in 2007. It is in the light of this apparent decreasing trend in the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Bayelsa State that we are encouraged to share some of the measures taken as a state in standing up to the challenge “Fight against HIV/AIDS”. Honourable Rodney Ere, Secretary General of Bayelsa State Action Committee on AIDS, Nigeria, speaking at the conference He said the Bayelsa State Government constituted and inaugurated a 20 members Board called The State Action Committee On AIDS under the leadership of a Chairman. The members are drawn from different sectors such as Ministries of Health, Information, Education, Gender, Agriculture and Youths, People Living with HIV/AIDS are represented in the board membership as well as Religious Community, Traditional Institutions and Civil Society Organizations. This is important as it widened the platform for decision making. BYSACA swung into Action and one of the first achievements was that the State Government: Enacted a policy on Free Antiretroviral Drug. Ten Thousand Naira (N10, 000.00) monthly to assist the nutritional need of the people living with HIV/AIDS. Free Counselling and Testing 25
  26. 26. A massive awareness campaign programme - “Three Arms Road Walk” was done to create Awareness about HIV/AIDS throughout the State. This involved the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary Arms of Government in the Advocacy on HIV/AIDS. This indeed became a global referral point for the Advocacy on HIV/AIDS. This advocacy and awareness campaign was spread to the school youths that are sexually active through a standing committee inaugurated by SACA. Called SACA Strategic Intellectual Awareness Campaign Team (SSIACT). The Committee was charged with the responsibility of conducting inter-secondary school debates and quizzes on HIV/AIDS topics. Information, Education, Communication materials on HIV/AIDS in form of fliers, exercise books with HIV Advocacy messages were distributed to all secondary schools in the state. The level of awareness became appreciable especially in the Urban Areas, and following these massive campaigns, it became necessary to get the awareness to the grass-roots, the very rural populace in the communities embedded in the creeks, and most especially to have an entry point where each Bayelsan can get a confidential discussion (counsel) on HIV/AIDS. The Bayelsa State Counselling and Testing Centre was established where every Bayelsan can go for counselling and tested to know his status. Local Government Action Committee on AIDS (LACA) was also constituted and inaugurated with 5 members from each of the 8 local government areas of the State, which have been charged with the responsibility of co-ordinating grass-root awareness campaign and implementation of the State’s response plans on HIV/AIDS. In the same vein, the following models which are rural driven are on going: Weekly One On One Public Discussion on HIV/AIDS awareness in Native Languages and Live Phone-in Discussion on Radio Station. One o One and Group Discussion on HIV/AIDS on every Wednesday in the week. Native Languages Adverts on HIV/AIDS Education and Stigmatization. SACA also launched her official website with domain name: www.sacabayelsa.gov.ng. for other Bayelsans to access information on HIV/AIDS. In the area of Capacity Building, SACA did not relent in her effort to organize trainings and workshops for: SACA Members LACA Members Line Ministries People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) Civil Society Organizations Non-Governmental Organizations and General Public. Prospectively, SACA has the following Plan: 1. To work towards the Conversion of SACA to An Agency. 2. Expansion of VCT Centre that would include the Eight Local Government Areas in Bayelsa State. 3. To collaborate with International NGOs, CBOs, FBOs and others 4 Expansion of HIV/AIDS Treatment and Care Centers -ART to include the Eight Local 26

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