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Traditional medicine can play important role in modern drugs discovery
2014-11-11

Indigenous knowledge possesses a great potential to improve science. Making use of this source may lead to advanced technological innovations. This is according to Dr Sechaba Bareetseng, UFS alumnus and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) Manager at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Dr Bareetseng recently addressed the seventh annual IKS symposium on the Qwaqwa Campus.
“Interfacing indigenous and local knowledge with scientific knowledge has the potential of encouraging and developing inventions, especially in the pharmaceutical industry,” said Dr Bareetseng.
 
“Such interfacing can also enable access to both sets of knowledge without any discrimination whatsoever. It would also encourage co-existence that would improve understanding between the two.”
 
“Traditional medicine,” said Dr Bareetseng, “can play an extended role in modern drugs discovery as it is already happening in Botswana and New Zealand. These two countries are leading this wave of new thinking in as far as drug development is concerned.”
 
Dr Bareetseng also called on established researchers to start embracing the local communities into their research.
 
“Contemporary scientific research demands that local communities must co-author research conducted within and with them by the universities and research institutions. This would help in maintaining trust between the researchers and the communities that feel exploited. Regular feedback would also make communities feel part of the developments,” Dr Bareetseng argued.
 
He further called on the pharmaceutical companies specifically and researchers in general to convert valuable indigenous knowledge and resources into products and services of commercial value. “Plants, the ecosystem and indigenous knowledge must be preserved to provide a source of income for the local communities. Communities must also be protected from foreign exploitation of their intellectual property.”
 

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