|Traditional Medicinal Plants (Dar Es Salaam University Press - Ministry of Health - Tanzania, 1991, 391 p.)|
|OPENING SESSION: WELCOME AND OPENING ADDRESSES|
Your Excellency, the President of the
Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Ali Hassan Mwinyi,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The purpose of my brief address to you this morning is to welcome all of you to Arusha. It gives us great pleasure that persons of your high academic and social standing, have responded so well to our call to attend this conference. The distances you had to travel are long: some of you have come all the way from Latin America, Asia and from within the expansive continent of Africa. For this effort, from your side, we say Thank you
We are in Arusha, a town which ranks third among our major municipalities. It is situated in the northern part of Tanzania, near the border with the Republic of Kenya, our good neighbours. This town is exactly midway between Capetown and Cairo, the two Southern and Northern tips of Africa, ft is situated at the foot of Mount Meru and only 50 km from the well known Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. The famous Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Parks, known for their high concentration of wildlife, are within a few hours of driving. The indigenous people of the Arusha region are unique, linguistically, and culturally. Within this Region, we have the Khoisan speaking Hadza, who are hunters and gatherers; the Cushitic speaking agricultural Iraqw; the graceful pure pastoralists, the Maasai; the mixed farming Bantu, the Meru, and its town is characteristically cosmopolitan.
This rich variety of geophysical endowments is well repeated when the plant Kingdom is analysed. Our people have a long tradition and experience in dealing with their health problems, by using naturally occurring substances, including medicinal plants. Before the colonial era, these were the only remedies, and were adequate. The colonial period was not only a wasted one for development of traditional medicine, but was also a serious set bade. There is a need to bring back the development of traditional medicine to its original track, and to utilize modern advances alongside it, in order to achieve maximum benefit for our communities.
Tanzania has been striving to move in that direction, with moderate success due to various factors, including economic ones. Our Traditional .Medicine Research Unit is constrained by shortage of qualified personnel and equipment. We still have to develop a clear - cut policy, and implementation strategies. The existing legislation needs revision, but revision must be followed by an informed and committed staff.
It is due to these circumstance that we have found it necessary to pool ideas, and even the meagre resources, with other developing countries, in this common course. I repeat, again, a word of welcome to each one of you, and request you to kindly bear with us, if you will find any inadequacies.
After these brief remarks, may I now invite the Guest of Honour, His Excellency, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Ali Hassan Mwinyi, to give the Opening Address.