Traditional Medicine Administration addresses medicinal use of illegally traded wildlife products
Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 27th October 2014—Traditional medicine (TM) practitioners from across Viet Nam met this weekend in Ha Noi to develop messaging encouraging their peers to refrain from using medicinal resources originating from illegally traded wildlife, including rhino horn, and to reinforce their commitment to the management of medicinal resources in traditional medicine in Viet Nam, especially endangered wildlife species.
The workshop was convened by the Traditional Medicine Administration (TMA) of the Ministry of Health (MoH) in conjunction with TRAFFIC, as part of their ongoing collaboration following a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two organizations.
The meeting brought together representatives from the TMA; TM experts from Southern Viet Nam, Central Viet Nam and Hanoi; and communications experts to learn about the current rhino poaching crisis and rhino horn consumption in Viet Nam.
Together, this group will develop a message for TM practitioners across the country to share with their peers in order to reduce demand for rhino horn. The participants will also discuss the most effective methods to disseminate the message for maximal impact.
“Messaging emanating within the Traditional Medicine community in Viet Nam clearly has huge potential for encouraging a reduction in the medicinal use of threatened wildlife products such as rhino horn,” said Dr Naomi Doak, Co-ordinator of TRAFFIC’s Greater Mekong Programme.
The workshop will promote collaboration on efforts to protect wildlife by addressing illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade by supporting the conservation of natural resources for the sustainable development of Viet Nam and ongoing efforts to manage medicinal resources in traditional medicine.
Future activities under the MoU will include seminars to educate TM practitioners about existing legal regulations regarding the use of endangered wildlife products and to discuss how to circulate information about these laws more widely, and the development of a circular renouncing the use of medicinal materials from illegally traded wildlife.
The MoU also includes the development of a curriculum for future TM practitioners. The curriculum, which will be taught in public and private TM institutions, will cover conservation issues and regulations about wildlife management, and will encourage students to think about how TM can contribute to the management of medicinal materials from wildlife and protection of threatened species, including the rhino.
TMA and TRAFFIC also aim to encourage pharmaceutical companies in Viet Nam to reduce the use of medicinal materials from illegally traded wildlife. Through networking events, the TMA and TRAFFIC will reach out to the owners of pharmaceutical companies to raise awareness about the threatened species used in medicine and to encourage the companies to express their support for this work.
The TMA is the specialized body of the MoH that advises the Minister of Health on implementing laws regarding TM, directing and monitoring expert work, and monitoring relevant professions in the pharmaceutical sector. TRAFFIC is a non-governmental organization working globally on trade in wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. TRAFFIC’s Greater Mekong Programme is based in Ha Noi. Funding for this workshop and further activities has been provided by the UK Challenge fund through an award to Save the Rhino International.