Integration of traditional medicine in health systems in Africa

Adelaide Bela Agostinho


In many rural areas of Africa traditional medicine is the only way for providing basic health care, despite all scientific and technological development recorded at the end of last century. However, traditional medicine continues in the secondary policy plans of African governments, despite that some countries already have institutes or centers of traditional medicine and have formulated policies and legislation. The author asks why African countries do not integrate traditional medicine into their national health systems and suggests that thinking in terms of “integrating” traditional medicine might not be helpful: traditional medicine should be regarded as an independent and parallel system with equal dignity. She argues that African countries must decide if this valuable resource should continue to be used to promote the well being of their people. They should be proud of their traditional knowledge and invest in it, stimulating research, development of technologies, infrastructures and policies.


traditional medicine; Mozambique; basic health care; medical plants

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