||I investigate how the World Health Organization (WHO) perceives traditional medicine.
The WHO has issued publications related to traditional medicine for decades, acknowledging
and commenting on traditional medicine as a globally prevalent system of health care,
and providing various guidelines and recommendations. I analyze those documents as
well as a series of interviews with current employees within various departments at
the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland to see how the WHO perceives the array
of pros and cons related to traditional medicinal practices, and with the aim of understanding
the WHO’s overall stance on the role of traditional medicine. Findings show the WHO
treads carefully in regards to traditional medicine, as they do not want to publicly
discredit a practice widely popular among constituents, nor blatantly support a potentially
harmful practice. Generally, the WHO portrays a neutral or positively slanting opinion
of traditional medicine through its publications. However, among employees and through
subtle references in publications doubts about the practicality and value of traditional
medicine become apparent.