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Research Centre: Modernised traditional remedies can help treat poor

By: Chun Sophal Posted: June-11-2008 in
Chun Sophal

The National Research Center for Traditional Medicine (NRCTM) has announced plans to modernize the production and processing of Cambodia's locally grown herbal medicines in order to help the poor. "We think that the poor can be helped through the modernisation of traditional medicines, because they can be bought and sold locally and replace foreign imports," said Heang Ponlei, NRCTM director.

He added that Cambodia has an abundance of the type of plants needed to develop the remedies but that his organisation lacks the funds it needs for the construction of a laboratory and factory. This would cost at least US$10 million, according to the center's estimates. Mam Bunheng, secretary of state for the Health Ministry, could not confirm whether the ministry could help. "But we can confirm that we promote he use of both conventional medicines and traditional herbs."

The NRCTM is currently seeking financial support from Japan to establish the lab. "We hope that [we] will receive as- sistance from friendly coun- tries because [our] government has no budget to respond to [the request]," Heang Ponlei said. Over 2,000 different herbs are used by the NRCTM to de- velop medicines with many be- ing grown in Kirirom and Bo- kor National Parks.

The World Health Organi- zation has previously said it would like to bring traditional medicines into the mainstream - where appropriate - and in 2007 asked Burma, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam to help Cam- bodia modernize its production of traditional medicines.

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