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Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1978. 41 p. (Technical Report Series No. 622)A WHO meeting to study the promotion and development of traditional medicine was held in late 1977. Traditional medicine concepts and its place in health care are discussed. The fact that traditional medicine consists of a great deal more than the use of medicinal plants is illustrated with discussions of indigenous medical systems from various countries. Much of traditional medicine has been shown to have intrinsic value. It should be evaluated and its efficacy, safety, and availability improved. This should be done because the use of traditional medicine is the surest means of achieving total health care coverage of the world population, using safe, acceptable, and economical means, by the year 2000. The meeting discussed methods of integrating traditional medicine and traditional medical practitioners into the national health care systems of developing nations. Examples of such integration from various countries are cited. Manpower in this area can best be developed by utilizing and retraining, if necessary, existing personnel, including TBAs (traditional birth attendants). Research priorities in the field will vary with cultural settings. The various possible research approaches are illustrated with case studies.
In: Bannerman RH, Burton J, Ch'en Wen-Chieh. Traditional medicine and health care coverage: a reader for health administrators and practitioners. Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization, 1983. 236-78.The various systems of traditional medicine in the countries of the Western Pacific Regions have several characteristics, including a long history, usually dating back many centuries. The resources in medicinal plants are rich, especially in the subtropical and tropical zones, although their development in different countries is unequal. While accepted by the general population, particularly among rural inhabitants, traditional medicine is often rejected or ignored by modern medical practitioners and by the more affluent and educated classes in some countries. Practices observed in the region follow 1 of 2 patterns. 1 model is highly institutionalized, with formal academic training in a variety of disciplines in recognized schools, professional associations, and official recognition. The Chinese system and Hindu medicine practiced in Malaysia, Singapore, Fiji, and Australia follow this pattern. The 2nd pattern is less well defined and institutionalized but nevertheless deeply rooted in the culture of the particular community in which it is practiced. The role of traditional healers in the region; the Chinese system of traditional medicine; traditional medicine in China today including the practice of acupuncture; research in herbal drugs; traditional Chinese medicine in other countries including Vietnam, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, and Japan; and folk and tribal medicines in the Philippines and rural Malaysia and South Pacific countries such as Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, and Fiji are discussed. WHO stimulates the development of traditional medicine in the region by supporting research, training traditional practitioners and encouraging their integration into health care systems as well as their participation in information sharing publications and activities.