PAP Health Committee advocates for appropriate legal framework for continental trade in medicinal plants


Recognising that traditional medicine is the primary source of health care for about 80 percent of the population in Africa, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs is advocating for increased public awareness of the benefits of African traditional medicines.

The Committee on Health is meeting on the sidelines of the Second Ordinary Session of the Sixth Parliament being held under the African Union  Theme of the Year for 2023, “The Year of AfCFTA: Accelerating the Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area” in Midrand, South Africa and will run up to 2 June 2023.

Acknowledging the role traditional medicines play in African society, the Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Hon Jean Patrice France Quirin says there is a need to increase public awareness of the benefits of traditional herbal medicine. "Promotion of traditional medicine can contribute to the improvement of the health coverage of populations. As Africa we need the creation or strengthening of national and regional research centres for the development of traditional medicine," said Hon Jean Patrice France Quirin.

Against this backdrop, the PAP Committee on Health, Labour and Social Affairs has recommended to the Plenary its workshop report titled 'The Place of Traditional Medicine in Health Systems in Africa,' for discussion and adoption. The report notes that traditional medicine will not replace conventional medicine but will only complement it.

Special recognition is also made that combining the rich botanical nature of traditional medicine with modern scientific research has the potential to improve the health situation of the continent. This will, however, require development of appropriate legal framework for the trade in medicinal plants and some form of certification for the African herbal trade to ensure the safety and quality of products produced.