Traditional medicine gains ground in African universities
SciDev.Net, 15 September 2011

LONDON, UK: The number of African countries with national policies on traditional medicine increased almost fivefold between 2001 and 2010, according to a progress report on the decade of traditional medicine in the African region. The report was launched at the 61st session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa, held from 29 August to 2 September 2011, in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire. The report also found that the number of countries with strategic plans for traditional medicine increased from zero to 18 in the same period, and those with national regulatory frameworks rose from one to 28, while some African universities have incorporated traditional medicine into the curricula for medical and pharmacy students. Read the article … Download the Progress Report on Decade of Traditional Medicine in the African Region [pdf] …


WHO to set up global database of traditional medicines
SciDev.Net, 16 December 2010

LONDON, UK: The first global database documenting the effectiveness of traditional medicines, which are widely used as the first source of healthcare around the world, has been announced by the WHO. The International Classification of Traditional Medicine will be set up in the first half of next year to document traditional medicines and, for the first time, provide effectiveness data based on common standards. The database aims to enable the objective evaluation of the benefits of traditional medicines using the same criteria for all countries, allowing researchers and policymakers to monitor their safety and efficacy. It could also help governments use the information to integrate traditional medicine into their health policies. Read the article … Read a UN news release, 7 December 2010 …

Indigenous knowledge degree combines arts and sciences
SciDev.Net, 15 December 2010

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA: The first comprehensive degree in African indigenous knowledge, combining natural and social sciences, will start in South Africa next year. The Bachelor of Indigenous Knowledge Systems, a degree that streamlines all aspects of local knowledge and teaches them as a consolidated curriculum, is an initiative from North-West University, the Universities of Limpopo and Venda, all in South Africa, and the National Indigenous Knowledge Systems Office in the South African government’s Department of Science and Technology. Students will have opportunities to specialize in specific areas of indigenous knowledge like health, agriculture, arts and culture (including languages), science and technology and their management systems. Read the article …

The evolution of benefit sharing
Elisa Morgera and Elsa Tsioumani

This article traces the evolution of the use of the legal concept of benefit sharing in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with a view to highlighting its contribution to indigenous and local communities’ livelihoods. To this end, the article proposes a distinction between inter-State benefit sharing (as identified in the third CBD objective and as usually linked to access to genetic resources) and notably lesser known State-to-community benefit sharing (in relation to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity). The article highlights the different legal connotations of the two dimensions of this legal concept, while supporting an integrated interpretation of the CBD. It points to a wide array of benefit sharing-related tools under the CBD that can be used to support indigenous and local communities’ livelihoods in pursuing the convention’s three objectives. The article also identifies other international processes – in the areas of intellectual property, health and climate change – in which these conceptual developments may have a significant influence. Read the guest article …


WHO calls for further promotion of traditional medicine

Xinhua, 8 November 2008


BEIJING, CHINA: The World Health Organization (WHO) Congress on Traditional Medicine was held from 7 to 9 November 2008, in Beijing, China. The “Beijing Declaration,” issued at the end of the congress, recognized traditional medicine as “one of the resources of primary health care services to increase availability and affordability.” It noted that “people have the right and duty to participate individually and collectively in the planning and implementation of their health care, which may include access to traditional medicine.” According to the declaration, “traditional medicine” covers a wide variety of therapies and practices varying greatly from region to region, while “the knowledge of traditional medicine, treatments and practices should be respected, preserved, promoted and communicated widely and appropriately based on the circumstances in each country.” Governments should formulate regulations and standards to ensure appropriate, safe and effective use of traditional medicine, and should establish systems for the qualification, accreditation or licensing of traditional medicine practitioners. Read the article … Visit WHO’s website on the Congress …


Nigeria: WHO Programmes – Minister Makes Case of Traditional Medicine

AllAfrica.com, 14 October 2008


ABUJA, NIGERIA: Nigerian Minister of Science and Technology Grace Ekpiwhre has urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to integrate traditional medicine practitioners in its innovation programme for Africa. According to the Chief Press Secretary, Grace Ekpiwhre said traditional medicine practitioners were a repository of valuable knowledge on medicine that could be of immense value to humanity. She added that products of traditional medicine practitioners should be subjected to clinical trial to ascertain their suitability and safety for human consumption. Read the article …


Cameroon: 80 Percent of World’s Population Depend On Traditional Medicine
The Post (Buea) via AllAfrica.com – 6 September 2007

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON: Current statistics from WHO indicate that more than eighty percent of the world’s population depend on traditional medicine for their health needs, which include plants and their products. This revelation was made public Friday, August 31 by one of the proponents of traditional medicine, Buea-based Tradi-Practitioner and founder of the Garden of Eden Institute of Natural Medicine, Cameroon, Dr. Richard Fru. Read the article…