Traditional medicine experts groomed

bahan spaJavanese SPA Massage and Herbal| Alternative Medicine| Jamu|To develop alternative medicine in Indonesia, Surabaya’s Airlangga University plans to offer a four-year traditional medicine program set to launch this year. “We are offering the program to develop tomorrow’s experts and researchers so that hopefully in the next 10 years, our traditional medicine will be far more advanced compared to that of China, India or Thailand. We have the biggest biodiversity in the world,” the university’s study program head, Arijanto Jonosewojo said.

He said Indonesia was home to 30,000 herbal plant species found across the country.

Of the number, 8,500 of them had been analyzed and 300 had been used in traditional medicine, he added.

“The 2010 National Health Survey showed that 59.12 percent of the country’s population used herbal medicine [jamu] and 95 percent were aware of the benefits of jamu as alternative medicine. This
shows that traditional medicine is deemed able to supplement conventional [chemical] medication,”
Arijanto said on Monday.

He said similar data also showed that in other developing countries, 80 percent of their inhabitants used traditional medicine.

The university, according to Arijanto, had been offering a three-year diploma (D3) level traditional medicine program since 2005. About 56 percent of the D3 graduates usually continued their studies in higher learning institutes in Yogyakarta and Surakarta that offer traditional medicine programs.

Meanwhile, director of Traditional, Alternative and Complementary Health Services at the Health Ministry, Dedi Kuswenda, said 250 hospitals in Indonesia were preparing to develop traditional, herbal or alternative medicine in stages.

“One of them is Dr. Soetomo General Hospital in Surabaya,” said Dedi at the TradCAM (traditional complimentary and alternative medicine) international symposium held in Surabaya early last month.

Dedi said traditional medicine, as part of the nation’s cultural heritage, not only played an important role in the national health system but also in improving livelihoods.

“Based on data from the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency [BPOM],traditional medicine trade had reached Rp 11 trillion [US$954 million] in 2011 and increased to Rp 13 trillion in 2012. In 2014, the figure is predicted to reach Rp 15 trillion,” said Dedi.

BPOM head Roy Sparingga said his agency had established cooperation with Interpol to supervise the circulation of traditional drugs mostly sold through the multi-level marketing (MLM) system.

“A large volume of medicinal products offered by MLM companies come from overseas. Last year, we were forced to stop the sale of 200 types of medicine,” said Roy.

He added that the BPOM not only oversaw imported medicine but also other traditional medicine containing chemicals.

“Between 2008 and 2012, the BPOM destroyed as many as 1.9 million products,” he said.

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