The history of Centre For Scientific Research Into Plant Medicine (CSRPM): As the saying goes "the beginning of every great thing is small", so is CSRPM

History of CSRPM

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CSRPM was established by the Government of Ghana in 1975 as a result of the dream and vision of

Dr. Oku Ampofo, a renowned allopathic Medical Practitioner, who having had personal experience of the

therapeutic values of herbal medicines on himself and his father became an apostle of herbalism at a tender age.

The Centre originally started as a small OPD run by Dr. Oku Ampofo in the present Community Center (OBIKYERE)

of Mampong-Akwapim before it moved to its present site. In the early sixties, the President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

sent Dr. Oku Ampofo and others to China to benefit from the Chinese experience in herbal medicine. It was there

that the seminal ideas of the Centre were sown.

 

In 1971, Dr. Oku Ampofo and a team including representatives from the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Ghana Psychic and

Traditional Healers Association sent a proposal to the Government of Ghana recommending the establishment of a national Centre to facilitate

and co-ordinate all research work on Ghanaian medicinal plants.

As a result, the Centre was established in 1975 by NRCD 344, as an Agency of the Ministry of Health, and was designated by WHO in December

1981 as a collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine, the first in Sub Saharan Africa.

 

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Until the late 1980's the Centre mainly provided clinical services to patients, collated ethnomedical information on medicinal plants and undertook the establishment of an arboretum for medicinal plants. Basic science research, however, commenced in 1986 with the establishment of the first research

laboratory, which in 1991 was separated into two laboratories; namely, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology to reflect the nature of research activities

carried out in these laboratories.

 

ADESIGNATION OF CSRPM AS WHO COLLABORATING CENTRE

In December 1981, the Centre received WHO recognition and was designated as a WHO Collaborating Centre for traditional medicine

(the first in sub-Saharan Africa). The Centre has maintained this prestigeous status for many years until it lapsed in 1994. The Centre is keen on

re-establishing this linkage with WHO and is presently in the process of submitting application for designation for the next four years. As WHO has

changed its procedures for re-designation and designation in the last couple of years the Centre has been advised by WHO to submit application

for new designation. 


In connection with this, the Regional Adviser for Traditional Medicine at WHO Regional Office for Africa (Dr. Ossy Kasilo), and the National Professional

Officer in Essential Medicines at WHO Country Office (Mrs. Edith Andrews) visited the Centre to explain the processes involved in the filing of

applications and offered guidance and suggestions needed for a successful application. This visit was followed by another one in 2008 by Dr Kasilo and

Dr Emil Asamoah-Odei, responsible for WHO Collaborating Centres (WCCs) in the WHO African Region to provide guidance on the plan of action as well

as overall scope of WCCs. It is hoped that the application which is now in its final stages of evaluation would receive WHO’s full approval before the

end of 2010.

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As a WHO Ccollaborating Centre, CSRPM, will offer its unique competencies and excellent facilities for research and development, and clinical services.

In addition CSRPM will continue to offer training opportunities to students of Health Sciences, Traditional Health Practitioners and Conventional Health

Practitioners. The Centre’s affiliation with WHO will also contribute among others, to WHO's activities in promoting research in herbal medicines with

regards to efficacy,

quality and safety and in supporting national capacity building in traditional medicine. Furthermore, CSRPM desires to benefit from WHO training

programs, to

participate in WHO projects and also serve as a resource centre for other African countries in various aspects of plant medicine research and training.

 

 

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JICA/JST COLLABORATION

The Centre for Scientific Research Into Plant Medicine (CSRPM), Mampong-Akuapem and Nogouchi Memorial Institute for medical Research (NMIMR)

entered into a collaborative project with Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and Japan Science and Technology (JST) in 2009.

This is a technical co-operation project in which there would be studies of anti-viral and anti-parasitic compounds from selected Ghanaian Medicinal

Plants with the view to finding compounds for the control of viral and parasitic infectious diseases.

The project duration would be five (5) years and would commence in the year 2010.

Some aspect of the collaboration such as Phytochemistry and Plant Development would be done at the Centre whiles the NMIMR would be involved in toxicological studies  and efficacy testing.

The Centre’s Director will be responsible for the Management and technical matters of the project.

 

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Over the years the Centre has expanded its activities to include a number of research disciplines working under the following departments:

  • Phytochemistry
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Microbiology
  • Production
  • Plant Development
  • Scientific Information
  • Clinic

Core staff manning these departments include:

Research Officers (12)
Medical Officers (3)
Nurses (4)
Assistant Research Officers (9)
Technologists/Technicians (21)

There are also the Administration, Accounts and Internal Audit departments that take care of the administrative, accounting and internal auditing

affairs of the Centre.
The entire work force of the Centre currently stands at 180.

 

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RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

Some of the research activities undertaken by the Centre include:

  • Phytochemical analysis of medicinal plants   and medicinal plant products.
  • Extraction, purification, isolation and characterization of plant chemical constituents.
  • Herbal medicine product formulation.
  • Quality evaluation of herbal medicinal products, as well as their plant raw materials.
  • Pharmacological and toxicological evaluation of medicinal plants and medicinal plant products.
  • Germplasm collection and development of propagation methods for medicinal plants.
  • Cultivation and conservation of useful medicinal plants.
  • Clinical trials of herbal medicines.

 

SERVICE  ACTIVITIES

The Centre offers the following services:

  • Clinical laboratory services
  • Production and dispensing of herbal medicines to out-patients.
  • Safety, efficacy and quality assessment of herbal products from manufacturers and herbal practitioners.
  • Raising of medicinal plant seedlings for sale to outgrowers
  • Formulation and production of herbal extracts for industries
  • Provision of library and internet café services.

 

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TRAINING

The Centre is currently organizing 12 months internship program for B.Sc Herbal Medicine Graduates from the KNUST. The Centre also organizes

orientation programs for final year medical students, pharmacist students and student nurses. Staff of the Centre act as resource persons in training

workshops for traditional healers and herbal medicine manufacturers.

DOCUMENTATION

As part of its mandate, the Centre undertakes the documentation of ethno-pharmacological information on medicinal plants, and currently has over

700 voucher specimens of Ghanaian medicinal plants in its herbarium. In addition the Centre has four (4) arboreta with total acreage of 725, located

at Mampong, Ayikuma, Mamfe and Begoro where various medicinal plants have been conserved ex-situ and in-situ.

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