The Council on African Studies Lecture Series presents
Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu, Visiting Lecturer, University of Rwanda:
“Africa’s Indigenous Medicinal Knowledge: Charting New Pathways, Exploring Frontiers.”
Africa’s indigenous medicinal knowledge has historically charted certain pathways and set the pace for research in aspects of health and wholeness globally. Within the continent, several Africans patronize and attest to the efficacy of Africa’s indigenous medicine; few research carried out around indigenous African pharmacognosy, for instance, has yielded promising results in many instances. For several reasons, however, Africa’s indigenous medicinal knowledge has remained at the periphery of research and development both in Africa and around the world. Governments and institutions in Africa are yet to mainstream or seriously explore the wealth of knowledge that can be found within Africa’s indigenous medicinal knowledge. This unenthusiastic approach from the continent has affected the awareness and perception of the inherent capacity of Africa’s indigenous medicinal knowledge to address several health challenges that plague humanity. There is need to expand the frontiers of Africa’s indigenous medicinal knowledge, but beyond that, it is necessary to emphasize that that knowledge system must be explored within existing boundaries that guide the heritage, mores and values of its custodians. The existing global intellectual property rights regime, and the standard clinical trials and research regimen, for instance, might need to be re-evaluated in order to accommodate certain nuances that constitute Africa’s indigenous medicinal knowledge.