Use of traditional medicine in middle-income countries: a WHO-SAGE study

by Oyinlola Oyebode, Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala, Peter J Chilton et al.
Health Policy Plan. (2016) 31 (8): 984-991 – First published online: March 30, 2016

8 pp. 161 kB

It is frequently stated in the scientific literature, official reports and the press that 80% of Asian and African populations use traditional medicine (TM) to meet their healthcare needs; however, this statistic was first reported in 1983. This study aimed to update knowledge of the prevalence of TM use and the characteristics of those who access it, to inform health policy-makers as countries seek to fulfil the WHO TM strategy 2014–23 and harness TM for population health. The authors conclude that TM use is less frequent than commonly reported. It may be unnecessary, and perhaps futile, to seek to employ TM for population health needs when populations are increasingly using modern medicine.

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