Online Program

Rehabilitating traditional indigeneous healing strategies and fulfilling the right to health in the democratic republic of the congo

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ngoyi K. Zacharie Bukonda, PhD, MPH, Department of Public Health Sciences, Wichita State University College of Health Professions, Wichita, KS
Emmanuel Mpinga Kabengele, PhD, MPH, Department of Community Health and Medicine,, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Geneva, Switzerland
Kandolo Tshiminyi, PhD, MPH, Institut Superieur des Techniques Medicales, School of Nursing Teaching and Administration, Kinshasa, Congo-Kinshasa
Colonialism has established a conventional health care system (CHCS) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and has fought against preexisting indigenous healing strategies. Paradoxically, post-independence governments have initially continued to exclusively cater to the needs of the CHCS despite its widely recognized ineffectiveness in achieving universal, geographic, financial and cultural accessibility and despite the fact that a great number of Congolese still regularly resort to the non-conventional medicines (NCMs) for their healing exclusively or concomitantly with CHCS. Slowly, the post-independence governments have deployed efforts aimed at promoting NCMs. The nature, patterns, correlates and effectiveness of their initiatives are not well known, yet they are worthy of exploration and support in this era of globalization where NCMs are increasingly lauded for their marked availability, accessibility, and acceptability. This study reviews NCMs-related initiatives by post-independence governments and other contemporaneous health care decision-makers in the DRC, identifies the enabling, facilitating and limiting factors in the promotion of NCMs, and proposes some key elements of a national policy to effectively rehabilitate NCMs and fulfill the rights to health. To reach these objectives, we use the documentary analysis and the violation of rights approaches, hence bringing into light the potential and real risks of violations of the rights of the stakeholders of NCMs. Based on the positive features of NCMs in the realization of the rights to health, we propose a new Congolese policy framework for promoting NCMs and satisfying the health rights of those still left out of the reach of the CHCS.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify key initiatives by post-independence governments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to promote non-conventional medicines (NCMs); Identify the key facilitating factors of the initiatives aimed at promoting non-conventional medicines (NCMs) in the DRC. Explain how NCMs can be more effectively promoted to advance the fulfillment of the rights to health in the DRC.

Keyword(s): Government, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have advanced education in public health; I have done research in and I am familiar with public health issues in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I have drafted a manuscript of the promotion of non-conventional medicines (NCMs) in the Congo; and I am co-author of another study (under review) on the role of NCMs in the fulfillment of the rights to health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.