ATM: WHO urges countries to integrate traditional Medicine into health systems to achieve UHC

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By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

The World Health Organization, WHO, has called for the integration of traditional Medicine into health systems of countries towards the achievement of the Universal Health Coverage, UHC, of countries.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti made this call today in her message to celebrate the 2023 ATM day in Africa.

Moeti said that integration of traditional Medicine into the national health systems of countries would contribute to achieving UHC for all and health related sustainable development goals.

Speaking on how this can be achieved, she said, ‘ Where appropriate, Member States should redefine laws, policies, and health services to enable holistic and relevant decisions, seamless choices with a transformative focus on prevention, maintenance, primary healthcare.”

She said, “I urge Member States to apply local knowledge, science, technology, and innovation to unlock the contribution of TM to advancing planetary health and people’s well-being across the life course, through regional and culturally appropriate nutrition and lifestyles within sustainable environments.”

Moeti further called the acceleration of research, production , regulation and formal utilization of evidence based traditional and indigenous products in national health systems.

While applauding African countries for their steps in nurturing ATM within their health systems, she noted that approximately 80% of the regional population using in traditional medicine for fundamental health needs, adding that, “it remains an embodiment of our identity, resilience, and heritage.”

WHO also urged for the training and education of traditional health practitioners to facilitate their integration into primary health care services, as ATM has become a culturally accepted health seeking behavior in the African Region.

The 2023 ATM day was marked with the theme, “The Contribution of Traditional Medicine to Holistic Health and Well-being for All.

It is a day for the resonance of the inaugural WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit held in Gandhinagar.

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