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  1. 1

    WHO's traditional medicine programme: progress and perspectives.

    Akerele O

    Who Chronicle. 1984; 38(2):76-81.

    An early objective of the World Health Organization's (WHO) traditional medicine program was to promote a realistic approach to the subject. The realism with which countries around the world, both developed and developing, examine their own traditional practices suggests that progress is being made towards this goal. The current challenge is to pursue action along 3 lines: evaluation, integration, and training. In traditional medicine it is necessary to separate myth from reality so that valid practicies and remedies can be distinguished from those that are patently ineffective and/or unsafe. Thus, WHO will continue to promote the development, teaching, and application of analytical methods that can be used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of various elements of traditional medicine. Action need not await the results of formal evaluation. Efforts can be initiated now to synthesize traditional and modern medicine. Several countries have attempted such a synthesis. For example, medical curricula in China include elements of Chinese medicine such as acupuncture, moxibustion, manipulation and massage, relaxation, and herbal medicine. A critical training need is to incorporate in the curricula of conventional health workers certain traditional practices and remedies that have been evaluated and proven safe and effective. Traditional practitioners also require training. They need to be provided with additional skills. It is essential to make practitioners of traditional medicine allies rather than competitors. The training of traditional birth attendants in aseptic delviery techniques and simple antenatal and postpartum care provides a good example of the possibilities that exist for collaboration between the traditional and modern health care sectors. In the past 2 years WHO has carried out numerous activities in the field of traditional medicine. For example, among the activities coordinated by WHO headquarters was the continuing search for indigenous plants for fertility regulation in men and women. In 1983, WHO collaboration centers for traditional medicine continued to strengthen national efforts in research and development. A prerequisite for the success of primary health care is the availability and use of suitable drugs. It is reasonable for decision makers to identify locally available plants or plant extracts that could usefully be added to the national list of durgs or that could even replace some pharmaceutical preparations that need to be purchased and imported. NAPRALERT (for national products alert) is a computerized database derived primarily from scientific information gathered from the world literature on the chemistry, pharmacology, and ethnopharmacology of natural plant products. It can provide both a general profile on a designated plant and a profile on the biological effects of a chemical constituent thereof. A valuable feature of the NAPRALERT database is its ability to generate information on plants from a given geographical area.
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  2. 2

    On a national drug policy for Bangladesh.

    Islam N

    Tropical Doctor. 1984 Jan; 14(1):3-7.

    On April 27, 1982 the Ministry of Health of the government of Bangladesh, set up an 8-man expert committee to evaluate all the registered pharmaceutical products presently available, and to formulate a draft National Drug Policy. Objectives are: 1) to provide support for ensuring quality and availability of drugs; 2) to reduce drug prices; 3) to eliminate useless, nonessential, and harmful drugs from the market; 4) to promote local production of finished drugs; 5) to ensure coordination among government branches; 6) to develop a drug monitoring and information system; 7) to promote the scientific development and application of unani, ayurvedic, and homeopathic medicines; 8) to improve the standard of hospital and retail pharmacies; and 9) to insure good manufacturing practices. 16 criteria were agreed on as guidelines for evaluating the drugs on the country's market. Drugs in Bangladesh have been classified into 3 categories. The 1st is drugs that are positively harmful. They should be banned immediately and withdrawn from the market. There are 265 locally manufactured drugs and 40 imported drugs in this category. The 2nd, drugs to be slightly reformulated by eliminating some of their requirements. There are 134 drugs in this category. The 3rd is drugs that do not conform to 1 or more of the 16 criteria/guidelines. There are over 500 drugs in this category. The new drug policy will produce a saving of 800 million taka (US $32.4 million). Drug supply in Bangladesh is a problem. The public sector distributes 20% of the total. In the private sector, drugs are supplied through import and local production. Investment for research by the pharmaceutical companies is essential. The principles laid down by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations for the supply of good medicine needs to be put into practice.
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