The Zambia Health Information Digest July - September 2005

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Mwansa., J.C. L., Editor
Bowa, Kasonde, Editor
Mweemba, Nora, Editor
Makondo, Francina, Editor
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Medical Journal of Zambia
This edition of the Zambia Health Information Digest is dedicated to Traditional Medicine. Traditional medicine has become even more prominent because of the high prevalence of HIV in Zambia. With a number of traditional healers making claims that they can cure HIV infection. The digest is therefore justified to address this subject. Our feature article is a study done by Dr Gretchen Birbeck on traditional medicine and the care of epilepsy patients. The World Health Organisation fact sheet on Traditional Medicine is also included in the Features section. In the News section and Abstract section are some news items and abstracts respectively on the subject. World Health Organisation defines Traditional Medicine as "the total combination of knowledge and practices, whether explicable or not, used in diagnosing, preventing or eliminating physical mental or social diseases and which may exclusively on past experience and observation handed down from generation to generation, verbally or in writing„. Trends in the use of traditional and complementary medicine are on the increase in many developed and developing countries. The WHO estimates that about 80% of people living in rural areas in developing countries depend on traditional medicine for their health care needs. The importance of traditional medicine has been recognised by the Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978 as a means to help achieve health for all. The African Union Heads of State Summit, which was held in Lusaka in 2001, declared 2001 -2010 as the decade for traditional medicine. The 50"` Session of the Regional Committee for the WHO African Region held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2000 adopted a strategy for promoting the role of traditional medicine in health systems, and declared 31st August as the African Traditional Medicine Day. Many countries face challenges in promoting the role of Traditional Medicine especially those of property rights, `standards, quality and efficacy of traditional medicines` research, promotion and protection of medicinal plants. WHO therefore urges countries to develop national policies, legal and regulatory frameworks` to create enabling environment for large scale manufacturing of sale and effective traditional medicines, protection of intellectual property rights and traditional medicine knowledge. The Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to the promotion or traditional medicine. The Health Reforms have been inclusive of the traditional medicine, whereby a Traditional Medicine Coordination Unit was created in the health sector and the Ministry of Health is in the process of developing a policy on traditional medicine.
This edition of the Zambia Health Information Digest is dedicated to Traditional Medicine.
Mwansa., J.C. L ed. et' al. (2005).The Zambia Health Information Digest July - September 2005. Medical Journal of Zambia. 12, (3)