- Medicine Information and Evidence for Policy > Medicines Policy
- Traditional Medicine > Traditional, Complementary and Herbal Medicine
(2002; 70 pages) [French] [Spanish]
4.3 Nongovernmental organizations
Worldwide, many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are working on TM/CAM. Only a few examples are given below.
By preparing, maintaining and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions, the Cochrane Collaboration (http://hiru.mcmaster.ca/cochrane/) aims to help people make well-informed decisions about healthcare. Cochrane Fields are Cochrane groupings that focus on dimensions of health care other than health problems, such as the setting of care (e.g. primary care), the type of consumer (e.g. older people), the type of provider (e.g. nurses), or the type of intervention (e.g. physical therapies). People working in a Field hand-search specialist journals, help to ensure that priorities and perspectives in their field of interest are reflected in the work of collaborative review groups, compile specialist databases of reviews, coordinate activities with relevant agencies outside the Collaboration, and comment on systematic reviews relating to their particular area. The Cochrane Complementary Medicine Field was established in 1996 to produce, maintain and disseminate systematic reviews on TM/CAM topics.
The mission of the Ford Foundation (http://www.fordfound.org/) is to "decrease poverty and promote justice throughout the world". It supports NGOs, schools, universities, research institutes, cultural groups and government organizations. It is particularly concerned about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, and believes that the AIDS epidemic in Africa cannot be addressed without the active involvement of traditional healers and TM organizations. One of its major grantees is PRO.ME.TRA (see below), with which it works to carry out TM activities in anglophone and francophone Africa.
Based in Dakar, Senegal, and with offices in Benin, Cameroon and the USA, PRO.ME.TRA - the Association for the Promotion of Traditional Medicine (http://www.prometra.org) - works to advance the use and acceptance of TM. As well as running an association of 450 certified healers and a research treatment clinical site in Fatick, Senegal, it produces health education information for the fight against HIV/AIDS. Its communications strategy incorporates use of print, electronic media and digital satellite technology and is being implemented with the help of Foundation du Présent in Geneva, Switzerland and the World Space Foundation in the USA.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) (http://www.panda.org/) is the world's largest independent conservation organization. Like the World Conservation Union (IUCN) (http://www.iucn.org/), WWF works to assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature, and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. This includes projects and research on sustainable management of non-timber forest products, which commonly include medicinal plants. Both organizations have shown how the massive demand for bark, roots, and whole plants from wild populations of medicinal plants can cause critical declines in the population numbers of some species, potentially leading to extinction. Highlighting such concern the two Organizations have brought conservationists and resource users together to investigate possible solutions and to research sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants. Both Organizations have developed guidelines on how to conserve medicinal plants.