Traditional medicine is widely accepted and practised in rural areas where the majority of the population lives. The use of traditional plants for curing common ailments and afflictions in village communities is encouraged by private and non-governmental organizations on the grounds that it is a sensible option in the face of the rising costs of allopathic medicine, transport difficulties, and the poor facilities at aid posts and rural health centres.
Although important for individuals and communities, traditional medicine remains outside the formal health system. It is expected that a policy in support of the rational use of traditional medicine will be developed soon and that a role for traditional medicine will be embodied in the new National Health Plan 2001-2010. Provisions for the introduction of proven traditional medicines have already been made in the recently approved National Drug Policy (259).