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Dr Frank Okeke: Integrating Homeopathic medicine into Nigeria’s Healthcare system

Posted by on April 25, 2022 0

Dr Frank Okeke: Integrating Homeopathic medicine into Nigeria’s Healthcare system

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine which uses minute doses of natural substances to treat ailments. It has been in existence for centuries.

In other climes, the science of homeopathy has gained a lot of popularity and has even been integrated into the health systems of various nations as an alternative to resolving medical issues and healthcare concerns.

In Nigeria, although prominent people patronise homoeopathic medicine, the practice appears to be trailing behind, raising the urgent need to demystify the concept and accord it pride of place in the world of healthcare.

Homeopathy was founded by Samuel Hahnemann, a German medical doctor. After his early education, he proceeded to the University to study medicine. In 1779 when he had defended his dissertation he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine (MD).

He went into practice but was not satisfied with his results and with the method of treatment in those days. So he stopped practising medicine and made a living from the translation of books into other languages.

While he was translating a book by William Cullen, he saw where the author said that the Peruvian bark cures malaria because it is bitter and caustic.

Hahnemann rejected this statement because he knew bitter and caustic substances which never touched malaria. So he made an infusion of Peruvian bark which he drank twice daily. Soon he developed symptoms of malaria- cold, fever, shivering, etc.

When he stopped taking the infusion the symptoms vanished.

He carried out the same tests on his family members and saw the same result. With these results, he was convinced that Peruvian bark cures malaria because it can produce, in a healthy person, symptoms similar to those of malaria. And so he formulated the law of similars: ‘similia similibus urrentur’ translated to mean ‘let likes be treated by likes’ or ‘like cures like’.

Other principles were also formulated. When he had gathered the reports of the effects of different substances that had been tested, he wrote the first Homeopathic Materia medica.

The name Homeopathy is obtained from two Greek words, homeois which means similar and pathos which means suffering or disease.

Homeopathic medicine is a globally recognized medical system. Because of its efficacy in different health conditions, it has
been integrated into the health care delivery of many developed nations.

India has the 2 largest infrastructures in homeopathy. In Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States Homeopathic medicine constitutes a part of their Health system. In the early 1800s, when bacteria, viruses and the microscope were not yet discovered, mankind was ravaged by different pandemics and epidemics. Since physicians then could not offer much help,
mortality rates were very high.

However, Homeopathy came to the rescue of many and gained a lot of popularity.

In 1813 during the epidemic of Typhus fever (spread by lice) Hahnemann treated 180 cases of Typhus losing only two patients. In other systems, the mortality was over 30
percent. Between 1831 to 1832 mortality rates from the cholera epidemic were between 40 to 80 percent but with Homeopathic medicine, it was 7 to 10 percent.

Again in 1849, during another cholera outbreak in Cincinnati, the survival rate under homeopathy was 97 percent while with the others it was 40-52 percent. When Yellow fever attacked some states in the US in 1850s, the mortality rates were between 15 and 85 percent while with Homeopathic treatment it was 5.73 percent. In 1854 cholera broke out from a public pump in London, the mortality rate was 59.2 percent but with Homeopathy it was 9 percent.

In Hamburg there was an epidemic of Diphtheria in 1892, the mortality rate was 83.6 percent but with Homeopathy it was 16.4 percent. During an epidemic of smallpox in Iowa in the US, homeopathic remedy, Variolinum, was given as a preventive to 2,806 patients from 15 doctors.

The protection rate was 97 percent. In 1918 when there was a global epidemic of influenza, 22 million people are believed to have died, the mortality rate was higher than 30 percent while with Homeopathy it was 2 percent.

In 1957 during a polio epidemic in Buenos Aires, when the homeopathic remedy, Lathyrus, was given to thousands of citizens not one case of polio infection was reported in any of the recipients. In conclusion, these are a few instances of what Homeopathic medicine has done globally.

In Nigeria, Homeopathy is still being patronized for treatment by many prominent Nigerians. It will, therefore, be to the benefit of the nation if Homeopathy is integrated into the Nation’s Health care delivery.

Dr Frank Okeke writes from Abuja and can be reached at

Dr Frank Okeke: Integrating Homeopathic medicine into Nigeria’s Healthcare system

April 25, 2022


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