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Traditional Medicine Is Bedrock Of All Medicine – Dr. Fru 

By Marriane Tabi Enow & Francis Ngoh Bau*

The Garden of Eden International Healing and Research Foundation, Buea, August 31, celebrated the 8th African Traditional Medicine Day under the theme:  "A Decade for African Traditional Medicine – How Far."

Dr Fru exhibiting his medicinal products

The founder and director of the foundation, Dr. Richard Fru, at a press conference organised as part of activities marking the day, explained that traditional doctors are private and independent philosophers with private and different ideologies. According to him, traditional medicine is a dynamic science based on knowledge exclusively handed down from generation to generation.

"It is medicine that takes into consideration the mental, the physical and the spiritual," Fru said.
Emphasising the importance of traditional medicine, Fru stated:  "Traditional medicine is our heritage and it should be our priority, reason why the World Health Organisation, WHO, kept aside this day for the promotion of traditional medicine in the world, since it was discovered that 80 percent of Africans greatly depend on traditional medicine for their health problems.

The traditional doctor, however, observed that if traditional medicine is not institutionalised in the society, it can not be promoted. "Our major challenge is to see how we can integrate and institutionalise traditional medicine into our main stream system," he stated. 

Given the stigma Cameroonians attach to traditional medicine and doctors, Fru urged the people to; "Go back to nature," stating that traditional medicine and religion are one. To support his assertion, he drew extracts from the Bible where Jesus Christ healed a blind man with his spittle and mud. Another is the case of Luke who was considered a great healer, using only plants and leaves to heal the sick. "I can not say there are no wicked persons in the field but we equally have genuine healers who heal with the fear of God," he said.

Traditional Medicine Vs Conventional Medicine

According to Fru, conventional medicine has its place in the society but should not dominate the majority or try to force traditional doctors into accepting their ways.

"We are two different individual institutions just like two parallel lines and the only time we may converge is when it comes to the health of the people," he said. He also said that conventional doctors depend on knowledge gathered from the field of medicine, while traditional healers are doctors of natural medicine.

"We manufacture, sensitize and heal," Fru stated. Challenged on traditional doctors’ claim of curing HIV/AIDS, he stated that traditional doctors have different philosophies and beliefs about HIV/AIDS. He said he simply makes situations better and God alone is responsible for HIV/AIDS cure. Fru urged the public not to turn away from traditional medicine, as, it had existed for so long, even before the conventional medicine became practicable. He thus advised all to, "Go back to nature."

* (UB Journalism Students on Internship)

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