FROM THE MATERNAL WARD TO THE PSYCHE WARD: A LOOK AT PARTUM DEPRESSION 

I had a vague idea that women who suffer puerpural psychosis (serious mental illness following childbirth) are more a danger to themselves and their babies than to their spouses. 

Can infidelity and domestic violence contribute to the development of postpartum depression and puerperal psychosis in a mother? Absolutely! The fact however is that it is well documented that neonates and children are infinitely more at risk of being killed by their psychotic mother.

“There is a reason it is called Post Partum Depression.

The CAUSE of the depression……..IS THE BABY.” 

In dispelling the myth of the above statement, let us look at the evidence:

“Although it has been suggested that postnatal depression is caused by low levels of progesterone or estrogen or high levels of prolactin, no consistent relationships have been found  ( Harris, 1994;  Hendrick, Altshuler, &  Suri, 1998).” Hence we can say with some measure of confidence that postpartum depression has no KNOWN CAUSE. That leaves us with contributory or so – called risk factors. 
“In their meta-analysis, O’Hara and  Swain (1996) included 13 studies comprising over 1350 subjects that examined the effects of obstetric factors. They concluded that obstetric factors had a small effect (0.26) on the development of postpartum depression.” 
“The evidence relating to Caesarean section and postpartum depression suggests that there is no association between the two variables. Warner et  al. (1996) and Forman et al. (2000) found no  significant association between elective or emergency caesarean section and subsequent postpartum  depression. Johnstone et  al. (2001) reported a nonsignificant trend between postpartum depression and caesarean section.” 
“Unplanned or  unwanted pregnancy as a risk factor for postpartum depression  should be interpreted very cautiously.”
“There’s little question that past history of psychopathology puts women at  risk for depression in the postpartum period. The average effect size is one of the largest for the risk factors of postpartum  depression.”
Strong to moderate risk factors for the development of postpartum depression are depression during pregnancy, anxiety during pregnancy, stressful recent life events (e.g death of a loved one, divorce). Additional potent risk factors include lack of social support (either perceived or received) from spouse, friends and relatives, and a previous history of depression.
So to be clear, the lack of support from a husband could be one important factor in the development of a frank psychosis in a nursing mother. However, saying the man deserves his fate is rather a long stretch. Of course the woman could plead the insanity defence and ultimately be absolved of murder, but the victim is no less a victim, and the woman might spend the rest of her life in the psyche ward, unable to care for her child. Our focus should be educating people on how to prevent ugly incidents such as a woman stabbing her husband after childbirth.
Author: Dr. Charles Uzor (Medical Practitioner).

THE “NOW SLICE” AND THE ILLUSIONS OF TIME: LESSONS

What if I told you that time doesn’t exist? What if I say that the ‘future,’ ‘present’ and ‘past’ are just illusions?
Many of us have stared into the sky and welcomed the brilliant night star. We’ve also observed the crescendo and diminuendo of sound as a vehicle approaches and drives past us.We’ve also looked up at the aeroplane passing over our heads, as we listen to the sound it produces. 

What should be clear to us therefore, is the fact that what we observe in our “now” from the sound and light is as it happened a million millionth years ago and a thirty, forty or twenty minutes (+/-) ago. Before the sound from that vehicle reaches us, before that light from the distant star reaches us, there is a pause, a rather long pause between you and what you thought you saw or observed. It is a deception you might not be aware of. 

(The now slice)

Furthermore, “if you stand still, and I stand still, and there’s 30 years between us in light speed, then when you observe me from your point of view, you will see whatever is going on exactly 30 years ago. That is why everything in the Universe is moving rapidly in different directions. It is possible for two beings traveling in opposite (or different) directions to both arrive before the other in their own frame. It takes time for your eyes to “signal” what they see to your brain. About 70 milliseconds IIRC. That means that everything you see is about 70 ms delayed per default.

Apart from that, light doesn’t travel instantly, and is always going to be more and more delayed the futher you get from what you’re looking at (cf  https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/3pzx06/can_someone_smart_please_help_me_understand_if/). 

You should therefore also take cognizance of the implications of such a question as “what is happening now?” For at that very time, that person may be eating, birds may be flying, someone may be dieing, someone is being born, a bomb is being detonated, et cetera. At that very time in the Universe, a star is dead, a galaxy is born, a planet is formed, a meteorite is hitting the moon, et cetera. All these stuffs captured simultaneously, is what Brain Greens refers to as the “Now Slice” (watch documentary here).

One interesting point to be noted however, is that  the “now slice” changes depending on your velocity, but this has no practical significance. The information you receive does not come from “now”, it comes to you from the past light cone. What a distant galaxy is doing “now” cannot be observed, because signals do not propagate infinitely fast. Likewise, a person on the distant galaxy can only observe what we were doing 10 billion years ago. 

Furthermore, we must now understand that Time is not just an illusion as Albert Einstein had asserted but that it isn’t what we thought it was. It is the case here that great swatches of the past remain undefined or forgotten. It is also the case that the present doesn’t really exist at all, because all we can sense is the past – our past. Hence, according to George Dishman, the Andromeda paradox  emphasizes that “future,” “present” and “past” are meaningful only insofar as they refer to an observer’s light cones. 

It is therefore the ejaculation of physics to conclude, using the lenses of special relativity, that what we call “Time” doesn’t exist as a definite reality independent of observers (cf https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/illusion-of-time-is-the-future-already-written.550435/). One must come to the realization that the call of death is the dead of Time as observed by such a fellow while alive.

 In his “The Fabric of the Cosmos: Illusion of Time” on PBS (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/physics/fabric-of-cosmos.html#fabric-) time” , Green had further explained the 4-dimensional continuum represented in the mathematics of special relativity. One of his most brilliantly written summary is: “Once we know that your now can be what I consider the past, or your now can be what I consider the future, and your now is every bit as valid as my now, then we learn that the past must be real, the future must be real. They could be your now. That means past, present, future, are equally real, they all exist.”

This is amazing isn’t it? That it doesn’t really matter whether your now is better than my now. For somewhere in the Universe, your now could be, and is someone’s past or future. Have you ever wondered why many get a divorce while others are getting married? Have you ever thought that your wealth today was someone’s past and might be someone else’s future? Have you ever thought about the fact that your birthday was another’s deathday?

There are indeed many existential questions the now slice answers and still hopes to answer. No, it doesn’t speak of determinism in the Universe. It speaks of what we know today as quantum uncertainty -of that quest in our lives to answer the question, “why am I not in his/her shoes?” “Why am I not privileged like him/her?” The mere thought that your uncertain future and uncertain present is another’s dream come true – another’s past, should give you hope, should console you and should halt perennially the ‘negative comparisons!’
Written by David Francis E. 

All images from Google.

WHY YOU SHOULD RESPECT QUANTUM PHYSICS

 

As scientists seek to invent the future in their laboratories, the rest of us are left in an existential shock. Yes, for our Universe is not just material after all. From the stars to the galaxies, to space and time and even on earth, there are as yet immaterial entities. We have all experienced this through our use of the computer, automated teller machines, codes, laser, x-rays, etc. These new voyage in and of science is said to birthe such questions as “how could we be so wrong about something familiar?” Yes. Familiar phenomena like, electrons, protons, neutrons, atoms, molecules and consciousness. In attempting to answer the question, we now have to ask “what is quantum physics or theory and why should I respect it?”

The quantum theory is the most bizarre theory in the history of science. Even Albert Einstein couldn’t get his head around it. It is an ‘insane’ and counter-intuitive bizarre theory of probability. It tells us one simple yet blaring truth: that atoms, or anything could be here and there at the same time, you could be both alive and dead at the same time.

 

“Quantum mechanics is a branch of physics which deals with physical phenomena at nanoscopic scales where the action is on the order of the Planck constant. It provides a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behaviour and interactions of energy and matter.

It also provides a substantially useful framework for many features of the modern periodic table of elements including the behaviour of atoms during chemical bonding and has played a significant role in the development of many modern technologies” (cf. www.advexon.com). Dr. Shohni Ghose (TEDx, 2014) calls it the science of semi-conductors.

Though some believe that “the fundamental laws of physics do not tell what the objects in their domain do,” yet others take the fundamental explanatory laws of physics as the ideal. Maxwell’s equations, or Schrodinger’s, or the equations of general relativity are paradigms, paradigms upon which all other laws -laws of Chemistry, biology, thermodynamics, or particle physics – are to be modeled (Nancy Cartwright “Do the Laws of Physics State the Facts?” In Philosophy of Science, Martin Curd & S. A. Cover, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 1998).

The Schrodinger cat experiment depicting a cat as both alive or dead.

In the Schrodinger’s cat experiment for instance, one could come to the indisputable conclusion that in the universe, a single entity/phenomenon is either alive or dead. Louis de Broglie termed it, “the quantum leap” (being the origin of electrons moving from one orbit to the other – here or there but never in between). The question will now be “who determines who is alive or dead?” Michio Kaku, the great physicist believes that it is the cosmic consciousness that really knows.

Unlike classical mechanics which helped us to predict the movement of things, quantum laws tell us about reality and this is one reason we ought to respect it. Others are that:

1) It is one field in science that tells us about us.

 

2) It tells us that though there are in fact quantum fluctuations in the universe, yet the quantum theory yields experimental predictions via experimental verification.

Questions about the teleporting of humans seem to have been answered by quantum mechanics.

3) infinite consciousness is alienated to people through the prism of the five senses.

 

4) Reality thus being limitless, quantum mechanics tells us that there, in the micro-quantum world lies the answers to everything.

 

5) You cannot define yourself with respect to external coordinates but in reference to a frequency higher than yourself.

6) “Information is travelling far faster than the speed of light to be communicated instantaneously across vast distances.This defies what we previously knew to be possible, and also hints at the notion of telepathy having the potential to be scientifically studied.

7)  It implies that all potential realities and possibilities already exist, and that there are potentially an infinite number of parallel realities. This would technically mean that any actions you judge in others, you have also committed in a parallel reality. It would also mean that what is happening to you right now has already happened and will happen again.

8) consciousness literally influences reality. The act of observing something can actually be responsible for bringing a potential reality to life. You may have heard of the Law of Attraction; quantum physics essentially supports this idea.When you focus on a desired outcome, it is almost as if you “reel in” that already existing quantum super-position of reality that brings it to life!

 

9) Quantum mechanics is currently challenging and uprooting some of our belief systems that have previously been based on the limitations of our senses. Rather than looking at the external world, science is now beginning to investigate the internal world in the form of microscopic particle behavior” ( cf.www.collective-evolution.com/2016/07/31/how-quantum-mechanics-is-changing-everything-we-know-about-our-livesp/)

It is true, I dare say, that the human mind cannot grasp the stupefying accuracy of a cosmic wonder, which causes us to have a connectivity between ourselves. From studies in quantum physics, we now know that the atoms present in us is also present in another person, in a star and in another universe. Therefore, because of this invisible yet felt interconnectedness, there’s even more today, an increasing search for meaning in the Universe.

 

“I am saddened by how people treat one another and how we are so shut off from one another and how we judge one another, when the truth is, we are all one connected. We are all from the same exact molecules.” – Ellen DeGeneres

 

Author: David Francis E.

COMPARATIVE DISCUSSION OF HERBAL OR LOCAL MEDICINE WITH CLINICAL MEDICINE

 

By Dr.  Mark D. Anthony

 

Introduction

It is estimated that over 70% of West Africans rely on traditional medicine for treatment of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. There has been debate in recent years over the belief that traditional medicine should be given a more legitimate place within the structure of West African healthcare.

Traditional medicine offers many positive aspects to healthcare. Despite the criticism of some traditional methods, many techniques used, especially those involving the use of herbs and roots, have scientific support and proven clinical success. The problem with traditional medicine lies in the belief of many that it should be the primary source of medical care. This belief that traditional healers are the first and the last line of defense against an illness can lead to potential life threatening medical emergencies.

A study conducted in three ECOWAS [Economic community of West African states] nations found that 60 of children suffering from malaria related fever were first treated with herbal medicines. This can be a dangerous situation. Heavy reliance on traditional means can bring about damaging results when a life is in danger. This also holds true in regards to women’s healthcare. For instance, treatments for miscarriages are often performed by traditional healers when procedures of this nature should only be performed by properly trained medical personnel.

Image from kimekwu.blogspot.com/2015/07/tracing-origin-of-traditional-african.html.

Despite the issues, there is room for traditional and modern methods to work together.  Most ECOWAS nations are in the process of developing policies and regulations for traditional medical care. Instead of working against traditional methods, many healthcare systems are looking to work with traditional healers. Given the lack of access of many West Africans to quality hospitals, it is important to take advantage of the medical solutions already in place. Nigeria healthcare system today houses both traditional and western medical systems.

This non-cordial relationship depicts traditional medicine as fetish, primitive and therefore not ‘modern.’ This accounts for its relegation to the background in favour of western medicine. This is consequent upon the labelling of traditional medicine as “non-rational” and therefore deprived of recognition and funding from government like its western counterpart. This contrasts with the situation in most South East Asian countries like China, South Korea and Taiwan where traditional medicine is already fully integrated into the healthcare system. In Nigeria, a dichotomy still exists between traditional and orthodox medical practices even though there are now moves towards policies of some tolerance and recognition Herbal medicine.

Traditional herbal medicines are naturally occurring; plant-derived substances with minimal or no industrial processing that have been used to treat illness within local or regional healing practices. Traditional herbal medicines are getting significant attention in global health debates. Traditional medicine (also known as indigenous or folk medicine) comprises knowledge systems that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “the sum total of the knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.”

In some Asian and African countries, up to 80% of the population relies on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. When adopted outside of its traditional culture, traditional medicine is often called alternative medicine. Practices known as traditional medicines Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, ancient Iranian medicine, Iran, Islamic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional  Korean medicine, acupuncture, Muti, Ifa, and traditional African medicine. Core disciplines which study traditional medicine include herbalism, ethno-botany, and medical anthropology.

The WHO notes however that “inappropriate use of traditional medicines or practices can have negative or dangerous effects” and that “further research is needed to ascertain the efficacy and safety” of several of the practices and medicinal plants used by traditional medicine used by traditional medicine systems. The line between alternative medicine and quackery is a contentious subject.

Traditional medicine may include formalized aspects of folk medicine, that is to say longstanding remedies passed on and practiced by lay people. Folk medicine consists of the healing practices and ideas of body physiology and health preservation known to some in a culture, transmitted informally as general knowledge, and practiced or applied by anyone in the culture having prior experience. Folk medicine may also be referred to as traditional medicine, alternative medicine, indigenous medicine, or natural medicine. These terms are often considered interchangeable, even though some authors may prefer one or the other because of certain overtones they may be willing to highlight. In fact, out of these terms perhaps only indigenous medicine and traditional medicine have the same meaning folk medicine, while the others should be understood rather in a modern or modernized context.

Similarly, a home remedy is a treatment to cure a disease or ailment that employs certain species, vegetables, or other common items. Home remedies may or may not have medicinal properties that treat or cure the disease or ailment in question, as they are typically passed along by layperson (which has been facilitated in recent years by the internet.

At the turn of the century, folk medicine was viewed as a practice used by poverty-stricken communities and quacks. However the rejection of synthetic or biomedical products has become a growing trend in Western society and allowed for a rise in the demand for natural medicines. When less developed countries are taken into account it is estimated that over 50% of the world’s population relies on folk medicine practices. The prevalence of folk medicine in certain areas of the world will vary based on cultural norms. Much of today’s modern medicine though is previously based on plants that had been long used in folk medicine. Some researchers point out a significant factor, however, that many of the alternative treatments that they test are “statistically indistinguishable from placebo treatments.”

Although over 100 countries have regulations on folk medicines there are still some risks associated with the use of them, especially when they are used without supervision. It is often assumed that because the medicines are herbal or natural, that they are completely safe, but one type of folk medicine commonly used with Ayurvedic medicine is Rasa Shastra which involves the use of dangerously toxic heavy metals in herbal remedies.

The various societies that make up the Nigerian State have for long relied on the indigenous health system which was developed as a response to their environment and it involves the use of locally available resources of prevent and cure diseases. It is a natural health care system which many generations of Nigerians have used. The practice transcends the maintenance of good health of the people as it also protects them from the menace of wild animals, evil spirits, accidents, provide bountiful harvest, good luck and other human activities.

Nigerians therefore, have a deep belief and reliance on traditional medicine, hence about 80% of the population uses it almost exclusively while about 95% use it concurrently with western medicine. This is because, to the Nigerian, traditional medicine treats the entire individual rather than one aspect of him or just his disease. At the centre of this practice are health professionals variously called Babalawo (Yoruba), Dibia (Igbo), Boka (Hausa), and among whom different expertise in healing has emerged. These include herbalists, bone-setters, traditional birth attendants, and psychiatrists among several others. They usually rely on vegetables, mineral substances, animal parts and certain other methods such as prayers, divinations, and incantations.

Image from blog.africadreamsafaris.com/2011/09/21/an-inspirational-story-of-hope-providing-children-with-basic-medical-care/

They typical medicine-man devotes much time and personal attention to the patient and this enables him to penetrate deep into the psychological state of the patient. Traditional health practitioners symbolize the hopes of society, hopes of good health, protection and security from evil forces, prosperity and good fortune, and ritual cleansing when harm or impurities have been contracted. Traditional medicine has endeared itself to the people especially in the rural areas who lack access to western medical practice. Furthermore the prohibitive cost of western medications present another attraction for traditional medicine. Throughout Nigeria, traditional medicine is very popular because the practice takes full account of the socio-cultural background of the people.

This is viewed against its western counterpart who engages its patients in a “distant’ and “disconnected’ way from the spiritual elements of the human body. Moreover the efficacy of western drugs has been questioned. The Voice of America recently reported that 60 per cent of drugs circulated in Africa are fake just as ‘orthodox medical practitioners look forward to only between 30 and 35 per cent success rate for the efficacy of their drugs.

Image from www.africandecisions.com/health/strong-medicine/

However, in spite of the popularity of traditional medicine worldwide, it has been challenged on several grounds, one of which is that its popularity is based on the anecdotal experience of the patients. The practitioners inflate the claims attached to advertisement and its products as well as not having scientific basis about its effectiveness, there in making it difficult to ascertain legitimate and affective therapy and therapists. Other arguments against the practice of traditional medicine include:

That traditional medical practitioners lack the skills required for correct diagnosis of serious disorders;

That they are always unwilling to accept the limitations of their knowledge, skills and medicine particularly in complicated organic disorders;

That traditional medicine lack standard dosage and have not been subjected to scientific verifications;

That even though the educated are convinced that the healers have supernatural knowledge and that this knowledge is medically useful, they have found them to be unscrupulous and dubious; and

That healer’s lack equipment required to conduct physical examinations.

Regulatory agencies have also noted their frustration in regulating traditional medicine due to ‘lack of documentation, inadequate coordination of the practitioners’ activities, poor communication between the practitioners and their patients, secrecy of actual contents and/or difficulty in determining actual ingredients.’


To be continued…

COMPARATIVE DISCUSSION ON HERBAL OR LOCAL MEDICINE WITH CLINICAL MEDICINE

By Dr.  Mark D. Anthony
Introduction

It is estimated that over 70% of West Africans rely on traditional medicine for treatment of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. There has been debate in recent years over the belief that traditional medicine should be given a more legitimate place within the structure of West African healthcare.

Traditional medicine offers many positive aspects to healthcare. Despite the criticism of some traditional methods, many techniques used, especially those involving the use of herbs and roots, have scientific support and proven clinical success. The problem with traditional medicine lies in the belief of many that it should be the primary source of medical care. This belief that traditional healers are the first and the last line of defense against an illness can lead to potential life threatening medical emergencies.

A study conducted in three ECOWAS [Economic community of West African states] nations found that 60 of children suffering from malaria related fever were first treated with herbal medicines. This can be a dangerous situation. Heavy reliance on traditional means can bring about damaging results when a life is in danger. This also holds true in regards to women’s healthcare. For instance, treatments for miscarriages are often performed by traditional healers when procedures of this nature should only be performed by properly trained medical personnel.

Despite the issues, there is room for traditional and modern methods to work together.  Most ECOWAS nations are in the process of developing policies and regulations for traditional medical care. Instead of working against traditional methods, many healthcare systems are looking to work with traditional healers. Given the lack of access of many West Africans to quality hospitals, it is important to take advantage of the medical solutions already in place. Nigeria healthcare system today houses both traditional and western medical systems. This non-cordial relationship depicts traditional medicine as fetish, primitive and therefore not ‘modern.’ This accounts for its relegation to the background in favour of western medicine. This is consequent upon the labelling of traditional medicine as “non-rational” and therefore deprived of recognition and funding from government like its western counterpart. This contrasts with the situation in most South East Asian countries like China, South Korea and Taiwan where traditional medicine is already fully integrated into the healthcare system. In Nigeria, a dichotomy still exists between traditional and orthodox medical practices even though there are now moves towards policies of some tolerance and recognition Herbal medicine. 

Traditional herbal medicines are naturally occurring; plant-derived substances with minimal or no industrial processing that have been used to treat illness within local or regional healing practices. Traditional herbal medicines are getting significant attention in global health debates. Traditional medicine (also known as indigenous or folk medicine) comprises knowledge systems that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “the sum total of the knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.”

 In some Asian and African countries, up to 80% of the population relies on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs. When adopted outside of its traditional culture, traditional medicine is often called alternative medicine. Practices known as traditional medicines Ayurveda, Siddha medicine, Unani, ancient Iranian medicine, Iran, Islamic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, traditional  Korean medicine, acupuncture, Muti, Ifa, and traditional African medicine. Core disciplines which study traditional medicine include herbalism, ethno-botany, and medical anthropology.

The WHO notes however that “inappropriate use of traditional medicines or practices can have negative or dangerous effects” and that “further research is needed to ascertain the efficacy and safety” of several of the practices and medicinal plants used by traditional medicine used by traditional medicine systems. The line between alternative medicine and quackery is a contentious subject. 

Traditional medicine may include formalized aspects of folk medicine, that is to say longstanding remedies passed on and practiced by lay people. Folk medicine consists of the healing practices and ideas of body physiology and health preservation known to some in a culture, transmitted informally as general knowledge, and practiced or applied by anyone in the culture having prior experience. Folk medicine may also be referred to as traditional medicine, alternative medicine, indigenous medicine, or natural medicine. These terms are often considered interchangeable, even though some authors may prefer one or the other because of certain overtones they may be willing to highlight. In fact, out of these terms perhaps only indigenous medicine and traditional medicine have the same meaning folk medicine, while the others should be understood rather in a modern or modernized context.

Similarly, a home remedy is a treatment to cure a disease or ailment that employs certain species, vegetables, or other common items. Home remedies may or may not have medicinal properties that treat or cure the disease or ailment in question, as they are typically passed along by layperson (which has been facilitated in recent years by the internet. 

At the turn of the century, folk medicine was viewed as a practice used by poverty-stricken communities and quacks. However the rejection of synthetic or biomedical products has become a growing trend in Western society and allowed for a rise in the demand for natural medicines. When less developed countries are taken into account it is estimated that over 50% of the world’s population relies on folk medicine practices. The prevalence of folk medicine in certain areas of the world will vary based on cultural norms. Much of today’s modern medicine though is previously based on plants that had been long used in folk medicine. Some researchers point out a significant factor, however, that many of the alternative treatments that they test are “statistically indistinguishable from placebo treatments.”

Although over 100 countries have regulations on folk medicines there are still some risks associated with the use of them, especially when they are used without supervision. It is often assumed that because the medicines are herbal or natural, that they are completely safe, but one type of folk medicine commonly used with Ayurvedic medicine is Rasa Shastra which involves the use of dangerously toxic heavy metals in herbal remedies.

The various societies that make up the Nigerian State have for long relied on the indigenous health system which was developed as a response to their environment and it involves the use of locally available resources of prevent and cure diseases. It is a natural health care system which many generations of Nigerians have used. The practice transcends the maintenance of good health of the people as it also protects them from the menace of wild animals, evil spirits, accidents, provide bountiful harvest, good luck and other human activities. Nigerians therefore, have a deep belief and reliance on traditional medicine, hence about 80% of the population uses it almost exclusively while about 95% use it concurrently with western medicine. This is because, to the Nigerian, traditional medicine treats the entire individual rather than one aspect of him or just his disease. At the centre of this practice are health professionals variously called Babalawo (Yoruba), Dibia (Igbo), Boka (Hausa), and among whom different expertise in healing has emerged. These include herbalists, bone-setters, traditional birth attendants, and psychiatrists among several others. They usually rely on vegetables, mineral substances, animal parts and certain other methods such as prayers, divinations, and incantations. 

They typical medicine-man devotes much time and personal attention to the patient and this enables him to penetrate deep into the psychological state of the patient. Traditional health practitioners symbolize the hopes of society, hopes of good health, protection and security from evil forces, prosperity and good fortune, and ritual cleansing when harm or impurities have been contracted. Traditional medicine has endeared itself to the people especially in the rural areas who lack access to western medical practice. Furthermore the prohibitive cost of western medications present another attraction for traditional medicine. Throughout Nigeria, traditional medicine is very popular because the practice takes full account of the socio-cultural background of the people. This is viewed against its western counterpart who engages its patients in a “distant’ and “disconnected’ way from the spiritual elements of the human body. Moreover the efficacy of western drugs has been questioned. The Voice of America recently reported that 60 per cent of drugs circulated in Africa are fake just as ‘orthodox medical practitioners look forward to only between 30 and 35 per cent success rate for the efficacy of their drugs. 

However, in spite of the popularity of traditional medicine worldwide, it has been challenged on several grounds, one of which is that its popularity is based on the anecdotal experience of the patients. The practitioners inflate the claims attached to advertisement and its products as well as not having scientific basis about its effectiveness, there in making it difficult to ascertain legitimate and affective therapy and therapists. Other arguments against the practice of traditional medicine include:

That traditional medical practitioners lack the skills required for correct diagnosis of serious disorders;

That they are always unwilling to accept the limitations of their knowledge, skills and medicine particularly in complicated organic disorders;

That traditional medicine lack standard dosage and have not been subjected to scientific verifications;

That even though the educated are convinced that the healers have supernatural knowledge and that this knowledge is medically useful, they have found them to be unscrupulous and dubious; and 

That healer’s lack equipment required to conduct physical examinations.

Regulatory agencies have also noted their frustration in regulating traditional medicine due to ‘lack of documentation, inadequate coordination of the practitioners’ activities, poor communication between the practitioners and their patients, secrecy of actual contents and/or difficulty in determining actual ingredients.’                                             
To be continued