Prescribing the balance of nature to traditional medicine schools

29 November 2016

Some of the Traditional Medicine "champions" trained during one of two workshops held by TRAFFIC and the National Centre for Health Communication and Education © TRAFFIC
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, 29th November 2016—50 leaders and lecturers at Traditional Medicine (TM) schools and universities will help instil the next generation of TM practitioners with an attitude of zero-tolerance towards the consumption of threatened animals and plants in their TM practices following two workshops held recently in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City.
TRAFFIC and the National Centre for Health Communication and Education (T5G) held training sessions for TM leaders and educators as part of their ongoing efforts to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products, such as rhino horn. Following the training, these 50 “champions” will engage more than 3,000 students, other lecturers and TM practitioners throughout Viet Nam to promote legal and sustainably sourced traditional medicine products.

Mr Trang Quang May, Deputy Director of T5G said, “The Ministry of Health has already removed many illegal or unsustainable products, such as rhino horn, from the TM Pharmacopeia. However, we are still trying to eliminate all illegal and threatened wildlife from the TM sector. The tools we are giving the workshop attendees will help us reach our goal of eradicating illegal wildlife in Vietnamese traditional medicine.”
Delegates at a workshop ©TRAFFIC
Delegates at a workshop ©TRAFFIC
During the workshops, the illegality of rhino horn and certain other animal products in traditional medicine was discussed. Facilitators outlined the reasons why TM practitioners need to avoid prescribing and consuming these species, especially to ensure the TM sector and TM practitioners in Viet Nam maintain a respectable reputation.

“With the harsher penalties of the new penal code, the TM community must be proactive and abolish the use of illegal wildlife products. TRAFFIC and T5G are holding this workshop to ensure that TM practitioners protect themselves from the risks associated with illegal wildlife trade by implementing socially responsible practices,” said Madelon Willemsen, Head of Office for TRAFFIC in Viet Nam.

“The commitment from these universities to protect threatened wildlife is a crucial element of our strategy to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products, such as rhino horn. University lecturers and students as well as the wider TM community, will be able to use a communications package developed by TRAFFIC and T5G to integrate wildlife protection into their activities and offer alternatives to illegal wildlife products.”
TRAFFIC, with funding from the Peace Parks Foundation, is using an evidence-based approach to reducing the demand for illegal wildlife products. TRAFFIC identified the traditional medicine community as a key sector to engage with because of the potential for prescription and consumption of illegal wildlife products.

In 2014, TRAFFIC signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health to combat illegal wildlife trade over a five-year period. T5G, which is a department of the Ministry of Health, began working with TRAFFIC in 2015 to help change the behaviour of traditional medicine practitioners and protect local and global biodiversity.

TRAFFIC is engaging different areas of Vietnamese society, such as the TM sector and business communities, to reject wildlife that is illegally traded. By shifting consumer behaviour away from threatened wildlife, TRAFFIC augments law enforcement efforts to stop illegal trade. This workshop is an element of TRAFFIC’s two-tiered approach of reducing demand while raising barriers for consumption.

19 March 2018Vietnamese youth appeal to their peers to stop using rhino horn

Vietnamese youth from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) are appealing to their friends, family and peers to stop using rhino horn. In July 2017, the lives of 11 students from various international schools in H

 read more

29 January 2018A new integrated anti-poaching approach for Ezemvelo rhino reserves

On 24 January 2018, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife officially opened a new central anti-poaching command and control, or so-called ‘nerve centre’, in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi (HiP) Park. The nerve centre forms th

 read more

27 November 2017Protecting the 'birthplace of rhino'

The birthplace of rhino” – this is the name often given to Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HiP) in KwaZulu-Natal where the southern white rhino was saved from the brink of extinction half a century ago.

 read more

27 July 2017'We can make a difference,' says Vietnamese Youth

The continued senseless killing of African rhino for their horn, is driven by the demand for horn in primary consumer countries in Asia, such as Vietnam and China. More than 90% of horn goes to or thr

 read more

6 July 2017Lions poisoned for bone trade

[Maputo, 5 July 2017] On 3 July 2017 the tracks of three poachers were detected in the Intensive Protection Zone of Limpopo National Park, Mozambique. These were followed and it became clear that the

 read more

28 June 2017Dynamic alliance established to bolster rhino anti-poaching efforts

On the western boundary of Kruger National Park (KNP), private and community-owned game reserves - represented as the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation (GKEPF) - have joined forces wi

 read more

12 May 2017More than 10 000 Vietnamese businesspeople reached

Quang Ninh, Viet Nam, May 2017—Since June 2015, more than 10 000 businesspeople across 45 Vietnamese cities and provinces have gained the tools and methods to adopt corporate social responsibility (

 read more

11 April 2017In order to stop the killing, we have to stop the demand.

The demand for rhino horn in Asian countries remains one of the main driving forces behind the escalation in poaching of rhinos in Southern Africa, with more than 80% of illegally trafficked rhino hor

 read more

16 March 2017No more ‘hiding in the dark’ for poachers entering Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park, South Africa – A group of three poachers move silently through the bushveld, hidden from the naked eye by the darkness of night. Armed with a rifle and carrying a grim collecti

 read more

19 January 2017 Cooking up a storm to encourage legal and sustainable foods for the Lunar New Year holidays, instead of threatened wildlife

Hanoi, Viet Nam — TRAFFIC and the Centre for Women and Development (CWD) held a cooking competition in Hanoi in January where nearly 100 people showed their commitment to wildlife protection.

 read more