BUJUMBURA September 4th (ABP) – The Ministry of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS joined, on Friday September 1, 2023, other nations of the Africa region, and the World Health Organization (WHO), for the celebration of Traditional African Medicine Day, under the theme “the contribution of medicine to the health and welfare of all”.
In his speech, the permanent secretary at the ministry responsible for health, Dr. Isidore Ntiharirizwa, said that traditional medicine had existed for a long time and that Burundians use it to prevent and treat diseases. He also added that in 2014, the State signed a bill authorizing the preparation of projects related to traditional medicine and this bill stipulates that these traditional practitioners join cooperatives and a national network.
The WHO representative in Burundi, Donatien Nshimirimana, indicated that this day is organized on August 31 each year to recognize the essential contribution of traditional medicine to the health and well-being of several generations in Africa. It highlights the immense potential of traditional medicine in promoting health and constitutes a source of reliable, acceptable and accessible health care at an affordable price for the African population, Mr. Donatien Nshimirimana illustrated.
On that occasion, WHO took the opportunity to call on the government of Burundi to apply local knowledge, science, technology and innovation to unlock the contribution of traditional medicine to improving the health of the planet and the welfare of the people. However, WHO reiterates its commitment to making its contribution to improving the health and welfare of the population.
Jonathan Nikora, the chairperson of the National Network of Associations of Traditional Practitioners of Burundi (RNATB) commended that day. He specifies that it is a good opportunity to share and exchange ideas to improve traditional medicine. Regarding the achievements of the RNATB, Jonathan Nikora did not fail to emphasize that the RNATB organizes capacity building sessions for traditional practitioners from different provinces and has banned those who sell traditional medicine without approval. However, the RNATB currently has 987 traditional practitioners and 933 have received their registration certificate, he said.
Jonathan Nikora also specifies that the RNATB is working hard to prevent certain traditional practitioners from working clandestinely. As a result, he mentioned, 182 traditional practitioners already have pharmacies selling traditional medicines.
During his presentation, Aminadab Havyarimana, teacher-researcher at the University of Burundi, indicated that in Burundi, traditional medicine officially exists and traditional practitioners perpetuate the provision of care.
As elsewhere, he continued to say, traditional medicinal therapies mainly consist of preparations based on plant raw materials. He added that at least 672 medicinal plants are used in Burundi. To that end, the traditional medicine sector contributes not only to improving the health of the people but also to their socioeconomic conditions, Aminadab Havyarimana declared. In a context where the practice of traditional medicine is evolving into an entrepreneurial phenomenon, it involves risks associated with products, practitioners and self-care. He cited, among other things, the use of poor quality products, unqualified practitioners, diagnostic errors and adverse side effects or therapeutic interactions (cases of poison treatment). Note that the law governing the use of traditional medicine in Burundi was adopted in 2014, as specified by Jonathan Nikora.