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close this bookTraditional Medicinal Plants (Dar Es Salaam University Press - Ministry of Health - Tanzania, 1991, 391 p.)
View the documentSession I
View the documentSession II
View the documentSession III
View the documentSession IV
View the documentSession V
View the documentSession VI
View the documentSpecial Session of Traditional Herbs
View the documentClosing Session

Session I

Open Discussion

The Session Chairperson informed the Conference that the session was a general one and delegates were invited to give their views and experiences on Traditional Medicine as stipulated in the theme of the Conference.

Dr. Brancho from Venezuela spoke on behalf of the South Commission. He pointed out that there is a growing interest and demand of Medicinal Plants in the World due to economical problems in developing countries, environmental consciousness and the apparent destruction of plants.

Dr. J. Koori, the Vice-Minister for Health, Cuba, outlined policies being taken to incorporate Traditional Medicine in health care. These include the training of medical students in the field of Traditional Medicine, setting up of regional pharmacopoeia, cooperating and collaborating with other countries, and encouraging scientific research in Traditional Medicine.

Dr. Amando Caceres, Director of Traditional Medicine in Guatemala informed the Conference that Guatemala had established a commission to promote and evaluate the use of Traditional Medicine.

Professor E.A. Sofowora from Nigeria discussed the economic aspects of Medicinal plants. He recommended the formation of an International South Commission to be responsible for information and material exchange, to take care of the geographical elements, and village level plant processing and production.

Dr. J. Arnoldo, Ministry of Health, Venezuela, recommended collective efforts to promote traditional medicine in Latin America. He supported the Cuban idea of establishing regional Latin American pharmacopoeia so as to give the best sources of medicinal plants. He said Venezuela is in the process of introducing courses on traditional medicine for the general practitioners.

Prof. E. Estrella, special representative of the Ministry of health, Ecuador, said Traditional Medicine was totally outside the country's medical programme. Efforts were being made to legalise it in health care. Ecuador was in a process of taking necessary political, scientific and other actions to promote Traditional Medicine in the country.

Dr. K. Bhat from Venezuela strongly supported collective effort on the promotion of Traditional Medicine in the South through international cooperation.

Dr. W. Johnson, Minister for Health, Sierra Leone, emphasized the need for scientists in the South to disseminate their research findings on Traditional Medicine to the general public.

Dr. Z.R. Xiang, Deputy Director of Science and Technology Department, State Administration of traditional Medicine of Peoples Republic of China, presented the abundant Chinese experience in research, exploitation and utilization of Traditional Medicinal plants which is now a parallel health care system in the country, citing a number of outstanding achievements in different areas including the discovery of Artemisinine, an antimalarial drug.

Prof. A. Abondo from Cameroon strongly advised on the need for distinguishing traditional medicine from witchcraft, and stressed the need for educating the public on the myth and reality of such medicines. He was also of the opinion that Traditional Medical practitioners should observe hygienic conditions in their course of practice.

Finally Dr. Bracho summarized the views expressed by the various speakers, again emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts in the evaluation of medicinal plants. He then pointed out that a report is in the course of being prepared for the South Commission on the conference's conclusions and recommendations.

In summary all the speakers strongly stressed on the urgent need to legalize, promote, coordinate, and accept traditional medicine as a parallel health care system in the South.