SA and China agree to stir on traditional medicine

South Africa and China are to work jointly in developing herbal medicine and regulating traditional medicine, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

According to the ministry’s representative Sibani Mngadi, the agreement was sealed when Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and China’s Vice Minister for Health, She Jing, committed the two countries to working together on this matter.

The high-level Chinese delegation led by Jing ? including senior officials of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine—ended a four-day visit on Wednesday.

“The purpose of the visit was to gain a better understanding of South Africa’s health system and policies, and to discuss possible co-operation in developing herbal medicines for treatment of Aids-related illnesses as well as regulation of traditional medicine,” Mngadi said.

Tshabalala-Msimang had expressed much interest in pursuing co-operation with China around the development of traditional medicine.

“This co-operation will be of much importance to us as we establish a formal regulatory framework for traditional and complementary medicine in South Africa.

“China has a long history in promoting the role of this important aspect of health care and we will be drawing lessons from those experiences,” the minister said.

Jing has formally invited South Africa to participate in the up-coming China-Africa Forum on Traditional Medicine scheduled for Beijing in October.

Mngadi said the Chinese visit had also marked the first big step in the implementation of the two countries’ Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in 2000. - Sapa

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