Composition of natural alternative medicine with capsules, essence and plants on wooden table in rustic kitchen. Front view. Horizontal composition.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), has lauded the reliability of traditional medicine saying 80% of the African population depends wholly on it for their basic healthcare needs.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, stated this in the commemoration of the African Traditional Medicine Day celebrated every 31st of August.

Speaking on this year’s theme, ‘Two Decades of African Traditional Medicine Day: Progress Towards Achieving Universal Health Coverage in Africa’ Dr. Moeti noted that the role of traditional medicine in the health of the continent cannot be overemphasized, thus calling for a commitment to enhancing science, technology innovation institutions to boost research and local manufacturing of traditional medicine.

“Since African Traditional Medicine Day was initiated in 2003, the continent has seen the implementation of WHO Regional Strategies on Promoting and Enhancing the Role of Traditional Medicine in Health Systems, 2001-2010 and 2013–2023, as well as plans of action for the First (2001-2010) and Second Decades of African Traditional Medicine (2011-2020).

“Nineteen countries have also established facilities for the local manufacture of herbal medicines, with the number of herbal medicines registered by national regulatory authorities in 14 countries increasing from just 20 in 2000 to more than 100 this year. More than 45 herbal medicines now feature on national essential medicines lists.

“A total of 24 countries have also developed Codes of Ethics and Practice for traditional health practitioners, to ensure safety and standards of service delivery. Ghana is setting the example for the continent, with the establishment of traditional medicine clinics in 55 regional hospital settings to date.

“WHO in the African Region has supported joint missions with partners to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Madagascar, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda, to monitor clinical trials of traditional medicine-based therapeutics proposed for COVID-19, eight of which are ongoing.

“The political will displayed by countries to support these innovations has been inspiring, as has the level of available infrastructure and skills”

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