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Botswana progresses toward implementation of WHO strategy on traditional medicine

This photo taken on May 21, 2023 shows the logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) with the WHO headquarters in the background in Geneva, Switzerland. (Xinhua/Lian Yi)
World Health Organization (WHO)

Botswana is working toward implementing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) strategy recommendations on traditional medicine, an official has said.

Sethomo Lelatisitswe, Botswana’s assistant minister of health, made the remarks Wednesday in Mahalapye, 200 km north of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, during the commemoration of African Traditional Medicine Week.

The WHO Regional Committee for Africa has urged member states to prepare specific legislation to govern the practice of traditional medicine as part of their national health legislation, aiming for the effective development of traditional medicine.

“Botswana has always engaged and involved traditional medicine practitioners as key stakeholders in the delivery of primary health care under the principle of community involvement and participation,” Lelatisitswe said.

Lelatisitswe said that an estimated 40 percent of Botswana’s population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs.

In some cases, according to Lelatisitswe, traditional medicine is the only healthcare service available, accessible, and affordable to many people in the southern African country.

“In this case, the significant contribution of traditional medicine as a major provider of healthcare services in Africa cannot be underestimated,” said Lelatisitswe, adding that the strategy promotes the development and local production of medicinal plants.

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