Each year, the Fondation Pierre Fabre holds a conference to assess today’s knowledge and challenges in major global health matters. In 2018, the conference participants explored traditional healthcare practices and products and their place in the Global South’s healthcare systems. While there has been progress made in appreciation of traditional medicines, as encouraged by the WHO, many challenges remain to be addressed.
Speakers from Mali, Togo, Madagascar and France examined many different topics at the conference held on 2 October 2018, from the role traditional medicines have in patient care to research on local pharmacopoeias.
Traditional medicine is the sum total of the knowledge, skill, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health (…) or treatment of physical and mental illness. (…) For many millions of people, herbal medicines, traditional treatments, and traditional practitioners are the main source of health care, and sometimes the only source of care. This is care that is close to homes, accessible and affordable .
Traditional medicines earn greater respect, but obstacles remain
The World Health Organization (WHO) sees traditional medicines (TM) as vectors to accessing healthcare and promoting good health and urges governments to integrate them into their national health systems and policies. It also promotes the safety, efficiency and quality of TM practices and products and their judicious, rational use.