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WHO Calls on Member States to Boost Traditional Medicine for Sustainable Health Goals


WHO Calls on Member States to Boost Traditional Medicine for Sustainable Health Goals

The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged its Member States to intensify their efforts in implementing evidence-based Traditional Medicine (TM) approaches to advance the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and enhance health and well-being for all at every stage of life.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, delivered this call to action during the commemoration of the Twenty-First African Traditional Medicine Day, which took place on August 31, 2023. Dr. Moeti’s message was read by the WHO Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo.

On this occasion, Dr Moeti encouraged unity and purpose, emphasizing the importance of drawing upon the healing wisdom found in traditional practices to benefit the people of Africa and the continent as a whole.

Dr Moeti emphasized the need for collective efforts guided by knowledge, empathy, and innovation to create a healthier and more holistic future, where traditional practices are harmoniously integrated with modern approaches for the greater good.

The theme of this year’s African Traditional Medicine Day is “The Contribution of Traditional Medicine to Holistic Health and Well-being for All.” This theme aligns with the outcomes of the WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit held earlier in August 2023 in India, which catalyzed political commitment and evidence-based action on traditional medicine worldwide.

Dr. Moeti recognized the enduring significance of African Traditional Medicine in enhancing health and well-being across the continent. Traditional medicine remains accessible, affordable, and trusted by millions, with approximately 80% of the population turning to it for their fundamental health needs.

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She commended the progress made by Member States in integrating traditional medicine into national health systems, including the development of evidence-based policies, regulatory frameworks, cultivation of medicinal plants, and training initiatives.

Twenty-five countries in the WHO Africa Region have integrated traditional medicine into their health sciences curricula, 20 have established training programs for traditional health practitioners and health sciences students, and 39 have developed legal frameworks for traditional health practitioners.

However, Dr. Moeti stressed the untapped potential of traditional medicine in research, local manufacturing, and commercialization, emphasizing the need to unlock its contributions to planetary health and people’s well-being.

Dr Moeti’s recommendations for Member States include applying local knowledge, science, technology, and innovation; establishing consultative mechanisms with Indigenous Knowledge holders; integrating traditional medicine into national health systems; redefining laws and policies; promoting prevention and primary healthcare; developing standards for continued training; accelerating research and regulation; and implementing monitoring systems and indicators for traditional medicine within national health information systems.

In summary, the WHO calls upon Member States to further embrace and integrate traditional medicine to achieve sustainable health goals and foster holistic well-being for all citizens.

WHO Calls on Member States to Boost Traditional Medicine for Sustainable Health Goals

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