A systematic review of the current status of herbal medicine in individual countries and its role in maintaining health will be necessary for policy development.
The national health authority is the most appropriate body to take the lead in developing the national policy. It can be assisted by a national advisory committee, supported by subcommittees to advise on specific aspects, if required. Where necessary, expert opinions can be obtained from international agencies and other countries. In formulating the policy, consideration should be given to the existing health care system, socioeconomic situation, local tradition and culture. The approach should be practical.
A strategic plan should be developed as part of overall planning. Following identification of problems and benefits, priorities can be set and objectives better defined. The adoption of a strategy is very important as it may involve a choice between several approaches to address the issues. Consultation with the communities and interested parties concerned is essential.
The contents of the draft policy document should be discussed with institutions within and outside government and with the private sector before it is finalized and submitted for formal endorsement.