A committee of experts on traditional medicine met for the first time in Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, on Monday (9 February).
GV EXTERIOR World Health Organisation building
SV Professor Andriamanave speaking
SV Delegates listening (3 shots)
SV Professor Andriamanave continues as delegates listen (2 shots)
SV Another delegate speaks
SV Delegates listening (2 shots)
Initials CL/1635 CL/1643
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Background: A committee of experts on traditional medicine met for the first time in Africa in Brazzaville, Congo, on Monday (9 February).
The experts gathered at the regional headquarters of the World Health Organisation. The object of their discussions was the idea of promoting collaboration between practitioners of modern and traditional medicine.
The committee examined the attitudes of people trained in modern medicine -- who often tend to regard traditional healers with condescension or consider them as competitors. The idea behind this being that if medical workers could understand that large number of these healers -- of whom there are thousands in Africa -- have acquired a considerable degree of skill during their years of practice, better use could be made of both forms of medical care.
After two decades of independence many African Governments have realised that modern medical practitioners are largely based in cities and are very scarce in rural areas. This means that 80 to 90 per cent of most national populations do not have access to them -- particularly in emergencies.
As a result of this awareness more attention is now being focused on traditional healers, who are nearly always the only ones available in villages. It is now realised that they play an important role in communities and that their considerable experience and knowledge has been underestimated.
The committee met under the chairmanship of Professor Andriamanave of Madagascar and was attended by delegates from Cameroun, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zaire, Ghana, Togo and the Congo.
The Choice of Traditional Medicine will be the theme of technical discussions during the 26th meeting of African Health Minsters which is to take place in Uganda in September.
SYNOPSIS: The regional headquarters of the World Health Organisation in Brazzaville, Congo, was the venue for a meeting of a committee of experts on traditional medicine which started on Monday. It was the first of its kind to be held in africa and took place under the Chairmanship of Professor Andriamanave of Madagascar. The main point of their discussions was the ideal of collaboration between practitioners of modern and traditional medicine.
The committee examined the attitudes of people trained in modern medicine -- who often tend to look upon traditional healers with condescension. The idea behind this being that if medical workers could appreciate the skills of the thousands of traditional healers in Africa better use could be made of both forms of medicine. This applies particularly in rural areas where modern practitioners are scarce and traditional healers play an important role -- especially in emergencies.