THE FRONTIERS OF MEDICINE

I once wrote the post, Put Your Brain Where Your Country Is – where I discussed the issue of brain drain bedeviling the country – so prevalent the medical field badly, right now.

This debate started, and this post was inspired, when someone posted on Twitter,

Over 600 Doctors Migrated From Nigeria In 2 Years – Nma – By Chioma Obinna President Of The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Prof Mike Ogirima, Yesterday Expressed Worry Over The Spate Of Migration Of Medical Doctors From Nigeria To Other Countries.

Here is the entire story:

Over 600 Doctors Migrated From Nigeria in 2 years

Someone cheekily commented,

This may be an opportunity to develop our trado-medical sector or we could even convert pharmacists and nurses to Doctors. Actually, we already do, informally. There are nurses who treat typhoid and deliver babies single-handedly.

In 2009 I was hospitalised for first degree burn, the intravenous infections given to me we’re not what the doctors ordered. The doctor would write one prescription. The matron will give a different instruction. I can testify that the matron’s powder did the miracle, eventually.

Someone else, an intellectual says,

Take typhoid… Usually, you go the traditional curative route to get a full lasting cure. Take hernia. Where the doctors would want to conduct surgery, there are surefire non-invasive local methods to completely address it. Ditto, fibroids…

The person who cheekily made this last statement, being very educated, got a swift reprimand from a Pharmacist:

Don’t bring your ignorance to the fore. Do you know what typhoid fever is? I believe you are among the people that patronize all these Traditional Witchdoctors who cause problems for us professionals!

You are disappointing me with this your talk. I expect such talk only from stark illiterate!

This didn’t deter the Educated One who felt trado-medical practice has its place,

It is an open secret that you need a local method to cure typhoid COMPLETELY..
Typhoid has a way of relapsing even after you spend three weeks in hospital, receiving medication, and taking your dosage completely..

Let’s hear this anesthesiologist, who jumps in, in a pained voice:

No wonder they bring in so many people almost dead to the hospital, expecting my colleagues and I to preform some miracle. Instead of visiting the hospital they prefer herbs and home remedies. They now rush in when things have got out of hand!

When this nasty habit of taking unregulated medicine kills their kidneys or liver, they come running to the doctor for dialysis. Nonsense!

The primary failing of local healing methods is in the unordered or non_measured way of diagnosis and treatment administration. Diagnosis is strictly through guesswork for them.
This is why I feel trado-medical practice (as presently constituted) cannot be acceptable within the Annals of true Medicine.

The Educated One, labeled an Illiterate (call him Educated Illiterate) continues,

I agree with you regarding the need for order in the alternative medicine field, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t potent local medicines or alternative medical practices for a lot of ailment that conventional medicine still find hard to tackle..A cursory look at China would convince you! You guys can, at least admit this.

Remember, before the advent of conventional medicine, people were living to ripe old ages. And they had effective ways of handling their ailments!


In Africa and Asia, a high percent of the population still patronize traditional medicine for primary health care. Far more than the conventional.

Traditional and modern medicine surely have a lot to learn from each other despite their differences. For thousands of years, people around the world have undergone treatment, using roots, herbal mixtures, etc, – via knowledge passed down from generation to generation.

We shouldn’t allow some of these knowledge perish,!

In Africa and Asia, 80 percent of the population continue to use traditional medicines rather than modern medicines for primary health care. Mostly, this is due to poverty, but is also rooted in the belief by some that certain ailments are better and effectively addressed the local way.

According to some estimates, as much as 80 percent of the population already tried therapies such as acupuncture or homeopathy. A particular survey conducted earlier this year found that a sizeable percent of U.S. medical students think that Western medicine would do well to incorporate traditional or alternative practices and therapies.

In 2005, sales of traditional medicines in China amounted to US$ 14 billion. In 2007, the Brazil sold traditional therapies for US$ 160 million, and the world market amounted to more than US$ 60 billion.

What does this indicate? Alternative medicine practice is quite prevalent not just in third world countries but in other parts of the world too. And if it is not effective, so many would not be patronizing it.

The truth is that modern medicine is in dire need of new treatment methods . It takes several years for a new drug to pass all stages of research and manufacturing, resulting in huge cost and delay in tackling some challenging diseases. A confluence of effort from both sides of the medicine divide should benefit humanity radically.

The prevalence of drug resistance in a disease like malaria is partly the result of the misuse, abuse or overuse of antimalarial drugs. Supposing there is a different approach in the alternative medicine field?

These two trends explain the need for researchers and pharmaceutical companies to urgently find new sources of treatments, which are turning more and more towards traditional medicine.

There is little doubt that the alternative medicine sector needs to be formalized and organized, but there is also little doubt that the practitioners among them who know what they are doing are quite knowledgeable and tackle with aplomb what conventional medicine often fail to address definitively.

What do you go for? Conventional or traditional medicine? Or, a combination of the two?

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