ANAMED (Action Natural Medicine) a German based NGO with over 75 partners worldwide organised a one week training for 17 people at the ECT (Evangelical Church of The Gambia)  conference Hall in Bwiam, WCR. The participants were drawn from different organisations across the country.

Speaking at the opening of the training Silke Lorenz, a member of ANAMED. She said the organization was founded by Mr. Hans-Marin Hirt in 1985. She said Mr. Hans worked in Africa for many years and realised that there is a lot of trees surrounding people that can be used as natural medicine. He said a lot of people die or suffer from ailments because they don’t have the means to afford conventional medicine but fail to realise that they can be treated naturally using plants and trees in the surrounding at little or no cost; therefore he researched into plants and trees as natural medicine and came up with the idea of forming ANAMED.

She said the reason for coming to conduct such a training in the Gambia is due to the fact that she and her husband Thomas and their children have been helping migrants in Germany by giving them food and making them feel welcome in Germany. She said they founded an organisation called ICoI (International Community for Integration) and have been working with migrants from different parts of the world. She said they visit the original countries of these migrants to know the situation in such countries and this includes The Gambia.  She said during their last visit in The Gambia she realized that there are a lot of plants and trees surrounding people that could be of medicinal use to the people; therefore the need to organise such training in the country.

She thanked the people who helped her in making this training possible in the Gambia, like Gunda Ross Cham a German-Gambian nurse mid-wife who has been living in the Gambia for over 20years, Mr. Abdoulie Mballow, programme manager if the National Traditional Medicine Programme, Ms. Fatou Touray, ICoI chairperson in The Gambia, Pastor Habib Jatta, manager of ECG hostel, church and garden in Bwaim and every other persons she might not be able to mention.

Sol Victor one of the instructors from Senegal said we have a lot of medicinal plants around us but because we don’t realise or know their medicinal values we suffer from a lot of ailments that could have been treated naturally. He said though ANAMED is a Christian organization it is open to humanity in general. His co-instructors were Karen Ndeye Haddy Victor a German based in Senegal and Nicola Goudiabi from Senegal.

Speaking at the end of the training, Mr. Abdoulie Mballow, the Programme Manager of the National Traditional Medicine Programme (NTMP) under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, said that the stance of government in bringing traditional medicine to standard should be supported by all healers. He said participants should make best use of the knowledge they gained from the training, foster the relation between practitioners of conventional and traditional medicine. He said their office is a liaison office between the traditional healers and government therefore they are ready to forge ahead a cordial relation between traditional healers and government. He said the idea of ANAMED coming to the Gambia to train people on medicinal plants and how to process them is a very good initiative and therefore highly welcome. He thanked ANAMED, Silke, the instructors and everyone who made the training a success.

Giving the closing remarks, Thomas Lorenz talked about the organization he founded with my family ICoI. Due to the high influx of migrants into Germany, they saw the need to welcome migrants and help them get food and shelter because there was a big hostility towards migrants from Germans. He said no one intends to leave his or her country to go to another country with uncertainty but because of circumstances beyond peoples’ control, they tend to look for safer places or greener pastures in other places. He said some of these migrants flee war or persecution from their countries and therefore someone needs to show them love and give them the assurance that they are welcome.

He said he travelled to the original countries of the migrants in order to get firsthand information of the conditions in such countries. He said it’s not easy to settle in a foreign land and therefore there is need to look for solutions in these countries by creating job opportunities in the form of skills training etc. to minimize migration especially among the youths. He said this training is very timely because it will help people to treat ailments naturally through plants and herbs which are available at very low or no  cost and will also help people generate income out of it. He urged the participants to make best use of the knowledge gained and also share the information.

The participants were trained in identifying plants and trees, knowing their botanical names, what plant is used to treat which ailment, how to process it and its dosage. They were also trained in making ointments out of plants. Much emphasis had been laid on was Artemisia an anti-malaria plant. Participants were trained on how to plant, take care, harvest and process it. At the end of the training participants were given seeds and seedlings of different plants so that they can start up their own gardens in their backyards and at the end of the training, they were awarded with certificates.

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