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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


NIGENDA, Gustavo; MORA-FLORES, Gerardo; ALDAMA-LOPEZ, Salvador  and  OROZCO-NUNEZ, Emanuel. The practice of traditional medicine in Latin America and the Caribbean: the dilemma between regulation and tolerance. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2001, vol.43, n.1, pp.41-51. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE: This paper characterizes the current stage of traditional medicine in nine countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. MATERIAL AND METHODS: This qualitative study was conducted between March and December 1998. Data were collected on the components of traditional health systems in countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, by means of a network of individuals and institutions from different countries that acted as expert informants from different specialty areas. RESULTS: Findings from the analysis of traditional medicine regulation are presented in three groups: a) Countries with some developments in the area of legislation; b) Countries where legislation is underway; and, c) Countries with no legislation or incipient regulation. CONCLUSIONS: Several stages of traditional medical practice legislation are found in the region. This heterogeneity shows the complexity involved in regulating the practice of providers with low levels of formal training, with different therapeutic practices, and with customs that are frequently difficult to include within the standards of the official health system. These findings are important for designing and implementing healthcare policies to adequate traditional medical practices to the needs of populations that commonly use them. The English version of this paper is available at:

Keywords : traditional medicine; legislation, health; Latin America.

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