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(2010; 104 pages)
The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the populations of Asia, Africa and Latin America use traditional medicine to meet their primary health care needs. For many people in these countries, particularly those living in rural areas, this is the only available, accessible and affordable source of health care.
The 50th Session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa recognized the importance and potential of traditional medicine for the achievement of health for all. Participants urged accelerating the development of local production of traditional medicines in order to improve access to health care for the African Region. In 2000, the Regional Committee adopted the Regional Strategy on Promoting the Role of Traditional Medicine in Health Systems. Thus, the year 2010 marks a Decade since the Regional Strategy was adopted. It also marks the end of the Decade on African Traditional Medicine (2001–2010) declared by the Summit of Heads of State and Government in Lusaka in July 2001. The year 2010 also marks a Decade since the institution of African Traditional Medicine Day on 31 August of every year as part of a strategy to boost the role of traditional medicine in national health systems. The decision to observe such a Traditional Medicine Day was endorsed by the Summit of Heads of State and Government in Maputo in July 2003. Therefore, the theme chosen to mark the “double anniversary” is: A Decade of African Traditional Medicine: Progress so Far.