Essential medicines and health products

WHO traditional medicine strategy

WHO/EDM/TRM/2002.1

The main objectives of the WHO Traditional medicine activities are:

  • To facilitate integration of traditional medicine into the national health care system by assisting Member States to develop their own national policies on traditional medicine.
  • To promote the proper use of traditional medicine by developing and providing international standards, technical guidelines and methodologies.
  • To act as a clearing-house to facilitate information exchange in the field of traditional medicine.

The objective of the strategy is to discuss the role of traditional medicine in health care systems, current challenges and opportunities and WHO's role and strategy for traditional medicine. Many Member States and many of WHO's partners in traditional medicine (UN agencies, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and global and national professional associations) contributed to the Strategy and have expressed their willingness to participate in its implementation. The Strategy was reviewed by the WHO Cabinet in July 2001 and, based on Cabinet comments, has since been revised. The Strategy was printed in January 2002. Since this is at present a working document, the proposed objectives and activities have started to be implemented in early 2002 and the Strategy will be widely disseminated. We understand that the situation in the use of traditional medicine is quite different from country to country and region to region. For example, in AFRO and in WPRO, the Member States consider that traditional medicine is a priority for health care in their regions, but in other regions the role of traditional medicine is treated as complementary or alternative medicine.

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For more information contact:

Dr Xiaorui Zhang
Traditional Medicine, Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy (EDM)
WHO/Geneva
Fax: +41 22 791 4730
E-mail: trm@who.int