WHO, ministry talk on traditional medicine benefits

FIJI is among several island countries in the Pacific that have started work on getting traditional medicine included in the national health policy.

According to the WHO Regional Strategy for Traditional Medicine in the Western Pacific (2011-2020) -- Fiji joins Kiribati, Niue, New Caledonia and the Federated States of Micronesia that are in the process of establishng government bodies for traditional medicine.

"The WHO and the Ministry of Health have started talks on traditional medicine or alternative medicine," confirmed Dr Isimeli Tukana, the national adviser for non-communicable diseases.

"We have a consultant who is doing some work on traditional medicine and we have a committee headed by our pharmacy looking into this," he said.

He said there were countless benefits for Fiji in this area. Some of which includeed promoting Fiji as a herbal tourism destination, where like-minded experts meet to discuss and research herbal plants for medicine.

We want to work with China, Thailand or Philippines that have herbal regulations already in place. All these things will be taken into consideration but for the time being we ask people to see us first for consultation, said Dr Tukana.

According to WHO, 90 per cent of China's population continue to use traditional medicine, as well as the Republic of Korea - 86 per cent and Australia at 68 per cent.

Across the region there has been an increase in government activities on traditional medicine, including the establishment of a national office and or a national expert committee.

Within the past few years, Fiji had enacted a regulation for acupuncture providers as part of its National health Policy.

Source: Fiji Times