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Delegation of Yoruba kings visits Fiocruz to resume partnership


Cristina Azevedo (Fiocruz News Agency)


In 2018, the king of the Yoruba people, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Babatunde Ogunwus, visited Fiocruz and introduced the idea of a partnership in the field of traditional medicine and integrative health practices. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversation was stalled, but it was resumed this Wednesday (November 24th) with a visit of a delegation from the Palace of Ife to the Foundation.

(Photo:  Pedro Paulo Gonçalves)

The delegation was led by the kings Ajero of Ijero (from the Ekiti state) and Apomu of Alapomu (from the Osun state), along with the Oduduwa Heritage House, which represents the Palace of Ife in Brazil. They showed interest in getting on with the cooperation. Although Nigeria is a presidential republic, the king of Ife is the main spiritual leader. He is considered the heir of the throne of Oduduwa, which according to Yoruba mythology, is the creator of the world, and the remaining kingdoms of the country are connected to him.

“Our countries face similar challenges. Nigeria is considered an emerging market by the World Bank. But we face many challenges to improve our people’s living situation. In this sense, the cooperation with Fiocruz will be of great help.” says Ooni of Ife in a letter that was read by King Ajero.

In the message, the spiritual leader proposes a partnership to create community agents and train healthcare professionals, as well as research medicines made of herbs and roots. The letter suggests that the Foundation should help, through protocols, to validate the usage of this traditional medicine, that has been used in the region for centuries. 

Patricia Canto with the delegation of Palace of Ifé (Photo: Pedro Paulo Gonçalves)

The vice-president of Environment, Health Care and Promotion, Patrícia Canto Ribeiro, emphasized that both sides have a lot to learn from each other. And mentioned short-term initiatives that could be established, such as the implementation of a human milk bank in Nigeria. Other initiatives can be established in the fields of education and drugs research and development.

Valber Frutuoso, the advisor of the Presidential Office for Institutional Relations, who attended the event along with Augusto Paulo Silva, researcher of the Fiocruz Global Health Center (Cris/Fiocruz), said that the Foundation will work to pursue the submitted proposals.

The reception in the Administrative Center Vinícius da Fonseca Auditorium, at Bio-Manguinhos, was followed by a lecture of the doctor and priest Atinuke Fagoroye, known as Doctor White, about the usage of plants in the treatment of diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The lecture, which was given in Yoruba, had simultaneous translation to Portuguese, was streamed by the Oduduwa Heritage House through YouTube, and was watched in both Brazil and Nigeria. The lecture was accompanied by another priest, the babalawo Adekunle Olokooba.

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