On 31 August, African Traditional Medicine Day, established by the World Health Organisation African region, honours the integral role of traditional medicine in the health and welfare of generations of people on the continent.
The event serves as a platform for member states to discuss best practices, groundbreaking evidence, and innovative solutions that showcase the immense potential of traditional medicine in nurturing holistic health and well-being for all.
Traditional medicine plays a large role in the lives of millions of people on the African continent being, in many instances, the only accessible primary healthcare services which are rendered by traditional healthcare practitioners, particularly in the rural areas.
The World Health Organisation urges member states to take urgent steps to implement evidence-based traditional medicine, unlock the innovation and contribution of traditional medicine and secure effective integration of traditional medicine into a national health policy.
The South African government has taken steps to integrate traditional healers in public sector health services. Recognising that through regulated practice the meaningful contribution of traditional healing practitioners in primary healthcare activities can be enhanced and facilitated, the South African government enacted the Traditional Health Practitioners Act, 2007 (Act No 22 of 2007), and established a directorate of Traditional Medicine within the National Department of Health.
Source: African Traditional Medicine Day 2023 | South African Government (www.gov.za)
The use of traditional medicine in Nigeria is significant and the proposed healthcare plan is to encourage and improve funding for research of new drugs and vaccines. The approach is that many medicines originate from herbal medicine, which is part of the rich African culture.