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Traditional medicine development for medical and dental primary health care delivery system in Africa.
African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines. 2005; 2(1):46-61.Traditional African Medicine (TAM) is our socio-economic and socio-cultural heritage, servicing over 80% of the populations in Africa. Although, it has come a long way from the times of our ancestors, not much significant progress on its development and utilization had taken place due to colonial suppression on one hand, foreign religions in particular, absolute lack of patriotism and political will of our Governments, and then on the other hand, the carefree attitudes of most African medical scientists of all categories. It is incontrovertible that TAM exhibits far more merits than demerits and its values can be exploited provided the Africans themselves can approach it with an open mind and scientific mentality. The degree of sensitization and mobilization by the World Health Organization (WHO) has encouraged some African countries to commence serious development on TAM. The African Regional Director of the WHO has outlined a few guidelines on the responsibilities of all African nations for the realistic development of TAM, in order to sustain our health agenda and perpetuate our culture. The gradual extinction of the forests and the inevitable disappearance of the aged Traditional Medical Practitioner should pose an impending deadline for us to learn, acquire and document our medical cultural endowment for the benefit of all Africans and indeed the entire mankind. (author's)
WORLD HEALTH FORUM. 1993; 14(4):390-5.About 80% of the world's people depend largely on traditional plant-derived drugs for their primary health care (PHC). Medicinal plants serve as sources of direct therapeutic agents and raw materials for the manufacture of more complex compounds, as models for new synthetic products, and as taxonomic markers. Some essential plant-derived drugs are atropine, codeine, morphine, digitoxin/digoxin, and quinine/artemisinin. Use of indigenous medicinal plants reduces developing countries' reliance on drug imports. Costa Rica has set aside 25% of its land to preserve the forests, in part to provide plants and other materials for possible pharmaceutical and agricultural applications. The Napralert database at the University of Illinois establishes ethnomedical uses for about 9200 of 33,000 species of monocotyledons, dicotyledons, gymnosperms, lichens, pteridophytes, and bryophytes. Sales of crude plant drugs during 1985 in China equaled US$1400 million. Even though many people use medicinal plants, pharmaceutical firms in industrialized nations do not want to explore plants as sources of new drugs. Scientists in China, Germany, and Japan are doing so, however. Screening, chemical analysis, clinical trials, and regulatory measures are needed to ensure safety of herbal medicines. WHO has hosted interregional workshops to address methodologies for the selection and use of traditional medicines in national PHC programs. WHO, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, and the World Wide Fund for Nature developed guidelines for conservation of medicinal plants. Their 2-pronged strategy includes prevention of the disappearance of forests and associated species and the establishment of botanical gardens. WHO's Traditional Medicine Programme hopes that people will apply known and effective agroindustrial technologies to the cultivation and processing of medicinal plants and the production of herbal medicines and the creation of large-scale networks for the distribution of seeds and plants.
ESSENTIAL DRUGS MONITOR. 1991; (11):15-7.The WHO Programme on Traditional Medicine has joined WHO's global program on drug management and policies because there is a need for recognition that an adequate technological infrastructure must be in place to maximize plants for their medicinal value, especially in the context of primary health care (PHC). PHC places traditional medicine high on its list of priorities and emphasizes the availability and use of appropriate drugs. For example, countries should distribute seeds or plants to be cultivated in home or community gardens and taken as infusions. Scientists have not studied most medicinal plants which can be a rich potential resource for developing countries. Countries should apply known and effective technologies to meet health needs in a culturally acceptable manner and to promote self reliance. They must 1st strengthen data gathering and analysis capabilities needed for economic mapping of medicinal flora, then develop data centers on medicinal plants and plant derived products, such as the WHO Collaborating Center in Chicago. Clinical research should focus on the safety and efficacy of herbal medicines used by traditional health practitioners and on developing antiinfective agents. For example, 2 WHO agencies are collaborating on identifying, preparing, and testing extracts for medicinal plants for antiHIV capabilities. WHO favors developing the knowledge and skills of traditional health practitioners within the framework of PHC. Further, interregional workshops promote selection and use of traditional medicine in national PHC programs. Since there continue to be much public interest in medicinal plants, accurate information must be disseminated to the public and health professionals so they can know both the potential benefits and harmful effects of these remedies.