The Traditional Medicine Practice Council (TMPC), a health regulator under the Ministry of Health, has for the second time been caught in an investigation by The Fourth Estate for licensing a quack herbal medicine practitioner.
The health regulator, which is responsible for the registration of traditional medicine practitioners, registered a non-existent herbal company, Krodwoa Herbal Enterprise, and licensed a non-existent herbal practitioner, Maxwell Akroma Duah.
This is contrary to the Traditional Medicine Act 2000, ACT 575 which states that to register a facility, applicants are required to present evidence of the ability of proposed practitioners in the practice, proof of registration, and testimonials from a traditional medicine practitioners association they belong to.
Also, to register a facility, the law requires an applicant to present the block plan of the premises and provisional approval from the district planning authority or relevant authorities on the land housing the premises.
Although Krodwoa Herbal Enterprise was non-existent, the Council licensed it. It also licensed its non-existent herbal practitioner, Mr Duah.
The TMPC official told The Fourth Estate’s undercover reporter that though inspection was required, she could process the licence without visiting and inspecting the herbal enterprise as required by law.
What is more fascinating is that the TMPC in its requirements said a herbal medicine manufacturer can only qualify as a traditional medical doctor after training by the TMPC.
But this was not done.
According to ACT 575, to qualify for registration as a traditional practitioner, an applicant must have had “adequate proficient practice in traditional medicine” and be endorsed by a district chairman of a recognised traditional medicine practitioners association or a district coordinating director.
The official, who handled the process, only tore part of a crumpled paper and wrote the list of items for the registration and corresponding costs in a way that suggested it was a regular practice done at the office.
The items included:
Form- GHC 10.00 Endorsement- GHC 20.00
Certificate- GHC 80.00 Licence- GHC 400.00
Inspection- GHC 200.00 Training-GHC 150.00
Total- GHC 860.00
The Fourth Estate’s undercover reporter presented an address of the facility, business registration, name of a guarantor, and photo identity of the non-existent practitioner, Mr Duah.
Though the Council took money for training and inspection, neither the training nor the inspection took place.
After seven months, The Fourth Estate finally received the certificate of registration for the non-existent manufacturing company, Krodwoa Herbal Enterprise and a licence for a fake and non-existent herbal medicine manufacturer, Mr Duah.
This is not the first time the TMPC has licensed a fake practitioner.
In May 2020, the TMPC issued a certificate to a quack practitioner, Jonathan Ohene Nkunim. Mr Nkunim was exposed by The Fourth Estate for sexually assaulting some women who visited his facility for physiotherapy services.
Apart from the certificate, Mr Nkunim also had two other licenses from the TMPC, Ghana’s regulatory body for traditional and alternative medicine.
The TMPC issued Mr Nkunim these licenses though the police were still investigating his previous licenses which were acquired under dubious circumstances. The TMPC ignored the fact that he had no training to provide the services listed on his call cards, and notice at the premises of his facility. The Fourth Estate brought this to the attention of the TMPC before it issued the licence.
On April 24, 2021, a traditional medicine practitioner wrote to The Fourth Estate to investigate the laxity in the TMPC’s operations. This coincided with The Fourth Estate’s story on the licensed sex predator, Mr Nkunim.
“Our training in KNUST [Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology] and Mampong [Centre for Plant Medicine] takes us six years to be licensed. We are trained in medical school and pharmacy school and then we do attachment and clinical rotations for an additional two years. When you are out, and you see the body responsible for ensuring sanity in the system messing up, it hurts,” the petitioner said.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Health, Mahama Asei Seini, has said the government will launch an investigation to find staff of the TMPC who licensed a non-existing herbal medicine practitioner, Mr Duah and his manufacturing company, Krodwoa Herbal Enterprise.
“The government, and by extension, the Ministry of Health, has taken a keen interest in this documentary and will launch an immediate investigation into key revelations of the documentary, to ascertain which of the staff members at the TMPC failed to do due diligence in the licensing of this fake manufacturing company,” Mr Mahama said this on Thursday, September 14, 2023, at a public forum organised by the Media Foundation for West Africa.
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