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Africa: Traditional Knowledge of Medicine Needs To Be Protected With Due Legislation

Nearly three fourth of the African population still hold the knowledge of traditional healers sacrosanct, and now researchers have expressed interest in the abundant resources //of the knowledge that exists to use it as potential avenues of new drugs. This would obviously call for a legal framework that would effectively ensure the utilization of traditional knowledge and facilitate fairness in its dissemination.

To facilitate this knowledge, the African Union and World Health Organization are in the process of ruling a legislation that can help African countries, protect the traditional knowledge of medicinal plants.

The WHO's regional director for Africa, Luis Sambo, has said that envisaged policies should include the parties from whom the traditional knowledge is sourced and the beneficiaries of the knowledge. The document, entitled 'Policy and legislative guidelines for the protection and promotion of traditional and indigenous medical knowledge in Africa', is waiting to be whetted by the WHO after which it will be released for implementation.


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