Traditional Medicine in Primary Health Care [2007/09/19]
Inter-regional Workshop on the Use of Traditional Medicine in Primary Health Care
From August 23 to 26, in Ulan Bator, The Nippon Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO) sponsored an Inter-regional Workshop on the Use of Traditional Medicine in Primary Health Care. Participants included representatives from four international organizations, including the WHO and UNICEF, as well as 13 nations, primarily from Asia.
At the workshop, The Nippon Foundation’s program to distribute traditional remedy-based home medicine kits garnered praise for the effect it has had on pastoral Mongolian families, who otherwise find it difficult to obtain medical services on a daily basis. The government of Mongolia expressed its enthusiasm for the project. “We wish to communicate the success of this pioneering initiative in applying traditional medicines to the whole world,” said Director Bujin, Healthcare Policy Coordination Office, Mongolian Ministry of Health. The WHO, which called for use of traditional medicine in the Alma Ata declaration of 1978, is closely monitoring this strengthening of community medical services, and has plans to conduct an international conference next year to contribute to expanded use of traditional medicine.
Roughly 220 people attended the workshop, of whom 100 were there to represent their nation or international organization. Other attendees included doctors actively practicing traditional medicine in Mongolia and manufacturers of traditional medicines. Conference activities included field observations, providing opportunities for a broad-ranging exchange of opinions.
Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, greeted attendees in the opening ceremony. “Of the world’s six billion people,” he said, “two billion will die without access to modern medicine. We began this experiment in order to find an effective way to provide traditional medicines…using a system developed 300 years ago in the Toyama region of Japan. We’d like to expand it into something that can be deployed around the world.” (Photo: Chairman Sasakawa greets attendees.)
Dr. Shigeru Omi, Regional Director of the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office said, “Seeing these activities of the Nippon Foundation, WHO realizes the importance of traditional medicine. I feel certain the home medicine-kit system will play a significant role in promoting primary care.”