Interest in traditional medicine

Participants in attentive mood at the National Validation workshop at the Pearl Resort in Deuba. Picture: Mela Katonivualiku

GEOGRAPHIC and economic constraints along with ineffective village health dispensary services are some of the challenges faced in providing primary health care needs, which is why the interest in traditional medicine has been raised frequently to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

This was highlighted by National Adviser for Non-Communicable Diseases Dr Isimeli Tukana during his presentation at the National Validation Workshop on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Policy Framework held at the Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour yesterday.

“We are aware that traditional herbal medicine has been in existence and 80 per cent of the population in Fiji regularly use this relevance,” Dr Tukana said.

“As of July, 2018, we now have a draft cabinet memorandum and its aim is on the development of Fijian traditional and complementary medicine policy for Cabinet to discuss and decide on,” Dr Tukana said

“It is still a draft and I am not sure whether it will be passed with this government or the next one.”

He said the purpose of the memorandum was to inform Cabinet about the proposed development of the Fijian traditional and complementary medicine policy and also Cabinet’s endorsement on the development of the policy.

Dr Tukana said the meaning of traditional medicine for the ministry derived from the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Traditional medicine is the sum total of the knowledge, skill and practice based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous with different cultures whether it’s treatable or not used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention diagnosis improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.

“Complementary medicine is Chinese medicine or Indian medicine that links up with traditional medicines for example acupuncture is considered complimentary.”

added today, the most common form of medication being discussed was traditional medicine.

“So when we are talking about traditional and complementary medicine, we are talking about the medicine, the practice and the practitioner.”

“In Fiji traditional medicine is limited to herbal medicine, acupuncture and massages. But now we have complementary medicine practises available in Fiji introduced by investors and travellers from Asian continents,” Dr Tukana said.

“So our definition in Fiji at the moment is very limited and constricted. We want it to be broader.”