|Students and lecturers from five of Việt Nam’s traditional medicine universities visited a pangolin rescue centre in Cúc Phương National Park last week.— Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC|
HÀ NỘI — Students and lecturers from five of Việt Nam’s traditional medicine universities developed communications strategies to combat the use of illegal wildlife products in traditional medicinal treatments.
This move was part of a two-day workshop in Cúc Phương National Park last week.
Thirty students and lecturers from Tuệ Tĩnh Medical College, Thành Tây University, Phạm Ngọc Thạch Medical University, Hà Nội Medical University and Hà Nội Medical College participated in the workshop, which was organised by TRAFFIC, Việt Nam Oriental Traditional Medicine Association (VOTMA) and Intelligentmedia, a behaviour change communication organisation, as part of their efforts to reduce the demand for illegal wildlife products.
“We are committed to ensuring that traditional medicine continues to be practised in Việt Nam in accordance with the law and sustainable principles. As the tide turns against the use of illegal fauna and flora as ingredients in traditional treatments, we are working to leave a positive legacy that will endure as part of our heritage,” said Trần Xuân Nguyên, head of the Professionalism Department at VOTMA.
“Traditional medicine practitioners and students have an important role to play as champions of best practices with their peers and associates, and this toolkit will help frame a zero-tolerance approach to endangered wildlife use in traditional medicine,” said Sarah Ferguson, head of TRAFFIC’s Việt Nam office.
At the workshop, participants updated information on the state of illicit wildlife trade in Việt Nam, including a session by VOTMA debunking unscientific beliefs surrounding the medicinal properties of illegal wildlife, particularly rhino horns, tiger bones and pangolin scales.
The lecturers and students were given communication guidelines and suggested activities to help them formulate effective strategies to deter the use of illegal wildlife products in formal prescriptions by traditional medicine practitioners and dispensaries to customers. They worked together to develop action plans that could be implemented in their respective universities.
The workshop highlighted recent research findings that identified the traditional medicine sector as a priority sector in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. It is hoped that through such sessions, future traditional medicine practitioners can promote legal, sustainable and socially responsible practices for sourcing and prescriptions. — VNS