Supporting traditional health care

Integrating traditional knowledge into health systems
Offering integrated health care
Providing sufficient integration of traditional and allopathic medicine
Accepting folk medicine
Strengthening traditional healing beliefs
Offering adequate integration of traditional and allopathic medicine

Integrating traditional knowledge and experience into health systems, including national health systems, as appropriate.


This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities.


In Bangladesh, Kenya, Thailand and other countries, governments, with assistance from donors, are supporting the work of tradition birth attendants in safe pregnancy and delivery care and of traditional healers in controlling infectious diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and AIDS.

Historically the temple forests in India have served many spiritual and religious purposes. A currently underused repertoire of sacred acts have the purpose of integrating the benefits of temple forests in rural development. The tree/plant species, planting design and the rituals related to their worship documented in the great epics, vedas and upanishads are of great value especially in the wake of promoting forest development and the forest development led agricultural development. The Star, Planet and Zodiac forests contain a large number of native tree species ideally suited to tropical stress and drought. The promotion of temple forests would help developing forests in the upstream areas which can help create climax forests and aid in soil and moisture conservation to help improve the productivity of downstream agriculture. As the chief utilitarian value of these temple trees and plants is in terms of the native (ayurvedic) medicine, their propagation would not only develop the downstream farming opportunities, but also promotes the native medicine sector.

The common folk medicinal and horticultural practices of the coastal people of northern Mindanao and the Visayan Islands of Bohol, Cebu, and Negros in central Philippines are, for the most part, based on efficacious use of marine plants and animals.

During the Cultural Revolution, Tibetan medicine was labelled a feudal superstition by the Chinese. Then there were only about 500 doctors of traditional medicine in all of Tibet. In 1991 there were 1,300, predicted to rapidly rise to 2,000.

Type Classification:
D: Detailed strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality Education