The role of traditional healers in the provision of health care and family planning services: Malay
The practitioners of traditional and indigenous medicine rely mainly upon medicinal plants and herbs for the preparation of therapeutic substances. The therapeutic properties of several medicinal plants and popular traditional medicine remedies are being investigated and validated. Present health care systems place people from developing countries in a dilemma. Countries can either continue providing a type of health care which cannot be extended to all in need or rethink and offer more inclusive types of medical care and delivery systems. Traditional medicine has a clear role to play in society, and even the World Health Organization supports the practice of traditional medicine to complement modern medicine. Traditional Malay medicine is the distillation of vast historical experience dating back more than 1000 years. It is often based upon observation, clinical trials, and experiments. The promotion and development of Malay traditional medicine can both foster dignity and self-confidence in communities through self-reliance, while considerably reducing the country's drug costs. The integrity and dignity of a people stems from self-respect and self-reliance. The practice of traditional medicine practitioners can help promote such conditions in many ways. It serves as an important focus for international technical cooperation and offers the potential for major breakthroughs in therapeutics and health care delivery. Effort should be taken to keep the practice of traditional medicine alive in Malaysia.