By Vincess Okushi
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on Member States to scale up their efforts to the implementation of evidence-based Traditional Medicine (TM)  to achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals to promote health and well-being for all Africans.
 
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso MOETI made the call in a message to mark this year’s celebration of African Traditional Medicine Day read by Dr Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the WHO Representative in Nigeria on Thursday, 31st August 2023 in the nations capital.
 
He said Member States need to harness the healing wisdom of traditions arising from Traditional Medicine stressing that it has played an integral role in enhancing health and well-being across the African continent, for the past two decades.
And pledged the organization’s
support to a healthier, more holistic future, where the tapestry of African traditions is interwoven with the progress of modernity for the greater good of all.
I urge Member States to: -Apply local knowledge, science, technology, and innovation to unlock the contribution of TM to advancing planetary health and people’s well-being across the life course, through regional and culturally appropriate nutrition and lifestyles within sustainable environments.
– Establish a high-level consultative mechanism with Indigenous Knowledge holders to guarantee their full participation and consultation in adopting and implementing relevant policies and actions associated with biodiversity management and Traditional Knowledge.
– Facilitate effective integration of traditional medicine into national health systems contributing to achieving universal health coverage and all health-related sustainable development goals.
– Where appropriate, Member States should redefine laws, policies, and health services to enable holistic and relevant decisions, and seamless choices with a transformative focus on prevention, maintenance, and and primary healthcare.
– Develop standards of the curriculum for continued training and education of traditional health practitioners to facilitate their integration into primary healthcare services.
– Accelerate the research, production, regulation, and formal utilization of evidence-based traditional and indigenous products in national health systems.
– Develop monitoring systems and indicators for traditional medicine within national health information systems enabling the measurement and redirection of traditional medicine practices within countries.
The African Traditional Medicine Day is celebrated every year, on the 31st of August, with the theme, “The Contribution of Traditional Medicine to Holistic Health and Well-being for All,” aimed at recognizing the milestone of unity and purpose, through a collective endeavor, guided by knowledge, empathy, and innovation, by stakeholders from the traditional medicine practitioners to policymakers, from researchers to international partners showcasing their immense potential to the health and well-being for all in the WHO African Region.

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