2. Promotion of traditional medicines and herbal remedies

Lao People's Democratic Republic
Key objectives of the measure:

Promoting local knowledge related to plants and medicines in order to safeguard local knowledge while providing quality and culturally-appropriate health services.

Scope of the measure:
Nature of the measure:
Main feature of the measure:

Traditional medicines have always played a key role in the health care practices of Lao populations. The Government encourages the use of traditional medicines and herbal remedies, especially in rural areas where there are few or no hospitals and medical clinics.

The Law on Drugs and Medical Products (established in 2000, amended in 2011) officially recognizes the role of traditional medicines. Article 4 of the law stipulates that “the State promotes the integration of the use between modern drugs and traditional medicines effectively and safely in disease prevention and treatment and encourages the integration, use and development of traditional medicines in the health service system”. Article 5 requires that the “produce and use of drugs and medical products” are carried out “in junction with protection of environment and ensure the sustainability of medicinal natural resources”.

The University of Health Sciences is implementing a 5-year plan to create a Bachelor program on Traditional Medicines. There is also a proposal for non-formal training for traditional healers but currently not implemented due to lack of funds.

So far, 12,500 species of medicinal plants have been identified, of which 2000 are properly documented by the Institute of Traditional Medicines. These include information on the plants and their uses, including extraction and production. The major problem however is the lack of standardisation and accredited laboratories for assessing traditional medicines. An MOU has been signed between the Governments of Lao PDR and China for the development of standards and assessment and establishment of testing facilities.

The Food and Drugs Department works closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in relations to forest products. So far one natural product, ’Chandai’, has been certified and used for blood circulation.

Results expected through the implementation of the measure:

Increased access to quality traditional health services and remedies.

Financial resources allocated to implement the measure:

Government budget, together with direct investment from private sector companies that involve in product development

Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
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