Traditional medical practitioners in Samoa have used medicinal plants and other forms of non-drug treatment for centuries. This knowledge is typically passed down within families (266).
The exact number of traditional medicine practitioners in Samoa is unknown, but a recent survey concerning primary health care workers estimated that there are about 150 full-time practitioners of traditional medicine. Visiting acupuncturists from the People's Republic of China have been providing acupuncture treatments in the country for about 10 years. Approximately 55 000 patients have been treated.
There is no legislation on traditional medicine in Samoa. Although the Medical Practitioner's Act states that only registered persons can practise medicine, practitioners of traditional medicine are not considered to be breaking the law. The Health Sector Reform has included traditional medicine as a sub-component for institutional strengthening/reform.