British Virgin Islands

Friday, Sep 18, 2020

bVI can be a pioneer for natural medicine- Premier Fahie

Challenged the Territory, including traditional medical practitioners, to have an open mind

“My life got saved to be the Premier of this country today through natural medicine. I am not saying that natural medicine doesn’t have its place. I will never say that, that’s ignorance, they both must co-exist,” said Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie as he noted that he will be pushing for the Territory to capitalise on the healing and financial benefits of natural medicines.

Premier Fahie was at the time contributing to the debate of the Medical (Amendment) Act, 2019, later updated to Medical (Amendment) Act, 2020, during the Eleventh Sitting of the Second session of the Fourth House of Assembly at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom, Tortola, on July 7, 2020.

Premier Fahie had said the bill sought, among other things, to update the Medical Act 2000 and to update how the registration of medical practitioners will be done.


VI can be a pioneer in natural medicine

“And the minister knows that while we are registering these practitioners with the Medical Act update that I am a proponent for natural medicine. It is something that doesn’t hit home with the traditional medical field but it is just like the cannabis, it is just like many other areas.

“The reason I am going into natural medicine, Mr Speaker, is we have to start being pioneers,” Hon Fahie stated as he referred to statements made by him previously in the House of Assembly about how Mr Noel Lloyd and others were mocked when they talked about canning tomatoes and coconut but now persons buying coconut in a bottle and cans from abroad.

“And we missed a whole economy where we could have been exporting and importing, so in the middle of COVID-19 we would have been known as an exporting Territory, rather than just importing.”


He said in the pharmaceutical industry it is similar.

“People get to hate based on how they were trained but if people get the facts of a lot of things they would realise that a lot of their anger towards certain entities and persons has been misdirected because if we had understood fully about what our old people were telling us about these natural medicines a lot of us would be living longer and healthier.”

“And I would be one of those in position fighting for natural medicines, yes, I believe in it. I also believe in the regular western medicine.”


Bringing the balance

According to Premier Fahie, he said he has been into natural medicine for years and he has nothing to hide about it and that he believes in it because it has a place to bring a balance to the regular medicine.

He said in some countries, patients are given the choice of herbal or western medicine.

“When we register the practitioners we cannot allow the old mentality and not allowing us a balance between the natural medicine and the traditional medicine to come into our medical field,” Hon Fahie said, adding that there will be criticisms but he has proven the effectiveness of natural medicines.

In fact, he underscored that it was natural medicine that had cured his ‘weak kidney and bladder’ problem as a child.

Further, he said he has done some studies in natural medicine and has seen their effectiveness, including helping persons with mental illness.

“Traditional medicines will never tell you how come. That is why we have to find how to register some of these persons in a legitimate manner.”


Resistance expected

Adding that he expects resistance to come against natural medicines being legitimised and mainstreamed, Hon Fahie said he was not going to come in a position of authority and be bullied by any medical person not to bring the balance.

“And we going to explore those here and any medical person who don’t want to explore those to help the people tell them they are to do one of two things; either next elections go put Fahie to sit down or retire because we coming through with it. I don’t have to make a dime from it but I know what I know.”

The Premier said even the Bible supports the use of natural medicine.

“In the Adventist [faith], the one person that got it close as could be was Ellen G. White. I read her books and most of those things were Godly divine that were given to her, but they work. But when you study the natural medicine you realise she was before her time when it comes to natural medicine and the eating of certain things…”


Don’t be a stumbling block

He urged persons to not be a stumbling block to the creation of this industry.

“Open your minds. There are colleges and universities now teaching this…”

“But I am asking that while we are here in the 21st century to open our minds and look back at our history, that when the old people were trying to tell us a lot of these things we ignored them, but everywhere else in the world has made them so huge that they have industries with a lot of these medicinal values of some of these bush. That is why I am a believer in the medicinal cannabis.

“I know the qualities it can bring. And I ask you while we are here how we are to know that some of the medicinal values of cannabis might not turn out to help COVID-19. If that is case you just realise what we just stumbled on? I like to keep my mind open and make possibilities for people because I know I will not be in this seat all the time,” Premier Fahie said.


What is Natural Medicine?

According to Health Times, Natural medicine can also be referred to as naturopathy; it is a form of alternative medicine which involves homoeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, diet and lifestyle counselling, and more. It is thought that naturopathy originates back to 400BC and its founding principles were discovered by the Greek philosopher Hippocrates.

Natural medicine systems aim to incorporate gentle therapeutic techniques involving the body, mind and emotions to aid the healing process. They also focus on each patient as an individual and treating the whole person, instead of concentrating on a particular area or the patient’s ailment. It is believed that muscles, bones and nerves are interconnected, therefore when structures of the body system are aligned; the body is able to function optimally and support self-healing (2).

Natural medicine practitioners will make a conscious effort to avoid using methods which suppress symptoms, as the aim is for the body to restore its inner balance and heal itself. Practitioners also have a role to teach; by educating and empowering their patients, patients can take more responsibility for their well-being and adopt a healthier lifestyle and attitude. Another important principle of naturopathic medicine is prevention of ill health; this can be done through both teaching and patient counselling.

Almost no side effects, natural medicine tends to discourage the use of pharmacological drugs and allopathic medicines. A majority of therapies will be centred on stress relief, relaxation, and using natural supplements in healthy doses, therefore patients are unlikely to suffer adverse or undesired reactions.

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