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Laos, Asean back use of traditional medicine

Laos will continue to work with other Asean member countries to guarantee the quality and safety of traditional medicine.
This was the message at the ongoing meeting of the 31st Asean Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality on Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements Product Working Group and related events taking place in Vientiane from April 29 to May 3.
Participants are reporting on the progress of their activities and sharing future plans in the field, as well as discussing the correct application of agreements relating to the use of traditional medicine in Asean.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Health Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong said the Lao government had been encouraging the use of traditional medicines in the prevention and treatment of diseases both in urban locations and in remote areas where access to health facilities is limited.
He said the ministry had initiated many activities to promote the integration of traditional medicine with conventional medicine, based on a prime ministerial decree advocating the incorporation of specialised traditional medicine.
In 2003, the prime minister issued a decree governing the management, exploitation and production of the country’s medicinal plants to ensure their protection and preservation and enrichment of biodiversity. The decree also aimed to ensure the sustainable use of medicinal plants, he added. 
In 2012, the Lao National Strategy on Traditional Medicine was approved. The goal of this strategy was to promote the use of medicinal plants, both as a health benefit and to maximise their potential value for the country’s economic gain.
Traditional medicines and health supplements, both locally made and imported, have been consumed by many people and become more popular. This has led to increased competition in the trade of traditional medicines and health supplements, so it is important to pass legislation and strengthen the control of their production, use, and distribution.
For almost two decades the Traditional Medicines and Health Supplements Product Working Group has supported the integration and standardisation of traditional medicines and health supplements in line with Asean integration of priority sectors, especially the healthcare sector
The Working Group last met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in late 2018, when two documents were prepared for endorsement.
These were the Asean agreements on the Regulatory Framework for Traditional Medicines and on the Regulatory Framework for Health Supplements.
These important documents will be used as references by Asean member states in the practice and regulation of traditional medicine and the use of health supplements.

By Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth
(Latest Update May 3, 2019)

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