Governments in the Tropics, please ...
In order to improve health care in the South,
by becoming more self-reliant and by resisting destructive pressures from the North,
Ten recommendations to
governments in the South
anamed defines "Natural Medicine" as being the combination of the advantages of traditional herbal medicine, e.g. the use of local resources, good healer / patient contact, easy access to healer and medicines, with the advantages of modern, western medicine, e.g. good hygiene, accurate dosages.
Give positive support to the practice of Natural Medicine, and to close working relationships between healers and doctors. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has already promoted such collaboration since the Alma Ata declaration of 1978, and have developed a "Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002-2005"
Support healers' associations, not according to their claims but according to the extent to which they follow the Code of Conduct for Natural Healers.
Support especially those hospitals that use locally available resources, in particular, healing plants. Encourage hospitals to establish a production garden of medicinal plants and to produce Natural Medicines in their pharmacies.
Open schools or colleges of Natural Medicine, and integrate Natural Medicine into the curriculum of existing medical schools, so that each nurse, doctor and healer can develop a much greater knowledge of Natural Medicine. Recognise and support those centres of excellence in Natural Medicine that already exist.
Request the WHO to give scientific support for the investigation of indigenous medicinal plants.
Insist that medical aid from abroad has the priority of supporting the local production of medicines and the local centres in which Natural Medicine is practised, rather than the import of medicines.
Resist in every possible way the patenting of the traditional knowledge of your people, and of any plant, animal and human properties, including genomes, of your country.
Withdraw from membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) now, and for as long as the WTO
maintains its decision to extend the protection to manufactured medicines afforded by patents from 5 years to 20 years, which came into effect on 1st January 2005. Insist on the right to obtain the cheapest possible life-saving medicines without facing threats of legal challenges or trade sanctions.
hinders, therefore, developing countries from developing their own pharmaceutical industry. Germany had 85 years in which to develop its own pharmaceutical industry without the rules of patents (i.e. from 1883 to 1968). As a result, Germany has become the world's leading exporter of medicinal drugs. Insist therefore on the same privilege for the development of your own pharmaceutical industry!
refuses to penalise countries and firms that, in the name of free trade, produce or allow the production of dangerous goods in the North while their use or sale there is either prohibited or strictly controlled, e.g. certain pesticides, soaps that contain mercury.
Work together with scientific institutions and churches to develop biological and chemical medicines, and create or develop seedbanks for medicinal plants. It is an ethical imperative that all available information about the production of medicine should be available for the benefit of the poorest people.
Support initiatives in your own country that produce high quality, healthy products, e.g. Natural Medicines, good soaps and cosmetics, food produced organically without pesticides, meat produced humanely etc. Refuse to import goods of low value or low quality, and especially dangerous, products, e.g. meat containing growth hormones, soaps and cosmetics for skin-lightening, pesticides and agricultural chemicals that are banned in the North.
See WHO Policy Perspectives on Medicines, No 2, May 2002, "Traditional Medicine: Growing Needs and Potential".
The World Trade Organisation's Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has set a worldwide standard for protecting patents: i.e. 20 years patent protection on all forms of products and processes.
The Convention of Paris in 1883 was for the protection of individual property rights. Until 1968 this rule was not applied to medicines in Germany! Thus for 85 years Germany was able to develop its own pharmaceutical industry.