Medical Council Urges Traditional Herbalists to Abstain from Advertising Health Products

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LMDC Registrar-General Dr. Moses G. Pewu (right) and Director of Complementary Medicine at MOH Dr. Edwin S. Quockia appearing on OK FM afternoon show

Monrovia – The Liberia Medical and Dental Council (LMDC) is calling on traditional medicines operators in the country to refrain from advertising their products on local radio stations and newspapers.

Speaking on a local radio station in Monrovia, LMDC Registrar-General, Dr. Moses G. Pewu, said the habit of herbalists using the media for advertisement of their works is against the code of conduct covering health practitioners including traditional herbalists.

According to Dr. Pewu, LMDC will start stringent action on herbalists, who are engaged in the practice.

“We will go after them if they cannot listen. The law says that no advertisement of medical products on the radio except it is approved by the Ministry of Health or LMDC,” Dr. Pewu stated.

The LMDC Registrar-General further stated that the exercise is not intended to get rid of traditional herbalists in the country but is intended at adhering to the LMDC code of conduct. According to him, it is hard time traditional herbalists operating in the country desist from using the air wave or the print media from selling their products, without an authorization from the Health Ministry or the LMDC.

Dr. Pewu added that while traditional medicines remain popular amongst Liberians, there is a need for them to be properly monitored by the relevant authority. According to him, section 3.1 of the LMDC code of conduct gives absolute power to the LMDC to punish any medical practitioners or traditional herbalists for violating.

LMDC Code of Conduct section 3.1:

“No Physician, Surgeon, Dental Surgeon, or any allied health worker be it Physician Assistant (PA), Nurse Lab Technician, Traditional Medicine Practitioners, etc. shall at any time advertise any health product (s) in the print or electronic media. Any violator of this law shall severely be punished by the Liberia Medical and Dental Council.”

It can be recalled recently, the plenary of the House of Representatives summoned the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Traditional Council of Liberia to address issues relating to the proliferation of ‘so-called’ traditional herbalists claiming to have cures for all sorts of diseases.

At that meeting, Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Francis Kateh said that most traditional herbalists are operating in the country illegally. According to him, a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health, Internal Affairs and LMDC was necessary to curtail them.

Further lamenting on the matter, Dr. Pewu is at the same time calling on authority at the Ministry of Internal Affairs to stop issuing license to herbalists. According to him, the Ministry is only mandated to grant license to traditional zoes and not herbalists.

“We have problem with the Ministry of Internal Affairs when it comes to registration of herbalists in this country. They are mandated to give license to tradition Zoe only, but they go ahead and grant license to Zoe and herbalists as well which is making things difficult for us,” he averred.

For his part, the Director of Complementary Medicine at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Edwin S. Quockia, described the proliferation of traditional herbalists as something against the LMDC code of conduct as alarming. 

“This is embarrassing to everybody; it puts our country at risk. This is why we are trying to tell the traditional herbalists that this cannot continue,” he stressed.

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