The Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency was established in 1997 by a Ministerial Order, in accordance with the National Science and Technology Act of 1980 which empowers the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology to establish Research Institutes where local materials are available.
This is to enable Government through the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology actualize its critical and strategic mandate to research, develop, collate, document, preserve, conserve and promote the nation’s indigenous (traditional) healthcare systems, medication and non-medication healing arts, sciences and technologies and assist facilitate its integration into the National Healthcare Delivery System, as well as contribute to the nation’s wealth and job creation, socio-economic growth and development effort.
This was further reinforced by the Government White Paper on the 1999 Report of the Presidential Policy Advisory Committee (The General Danjuma Report) of the Federal Government which in its views and comments acknowledged the relevance of the Agency stating that:- “The Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, which is responsible for the Promotion and Development of indigenous medicine, would be adequately funded to enable it step up its research and development activities”.
The importance of research, development and promotion of the positive and vast potentials of Natural medicine which has sustained mankind since inception cannot be over emphasized, as presently, 80 – 85% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa which includes Nigeria, depend on the numerous and varied services and products of indigenous medical knowledge, science and technology not only for their healthcare delivery needs, but also for social, economic and community issues.
Natural/Traditional Medicine appears to be the main-stay of the citizenry especially at the primary healthcare level for the urban poor and rural communities, who constitute the greater percentage of the population. For most of this population, it is the only source of healthcare delivery available, accessible, affordable, and acceptable, thus making it a powerful tool for national economic growth and development.
Nigeria has huge biodiversity, bio-resources and indigenous medical knowledge, science and technology which needs to be documented, developed and sustainably exploited and utilized for improved healthcare delivery, wealth and job creation. Worldwide, the estimated annual business volume of Herbal Medicine alone is over USD 100 billion to which Nigeria with its huge biodiversity and bio-resources is contributing very little presently.
In view of the vast potentials of natural medicine and Nigeria’s huge biodiversity, boresources and traditional medicine knowledge, the need for appropriate documentation, research, development, improvement and promotion of the Nation’s Medicinal, Aromatic and Pesticidal Plants (MAPs) and Traditional Knowledge systems and the possible commercialization of MAPs as raw materials or as finished products is essential.