Alban South America


Background Information

The principal traditional medical specialties are herbalism, traditional birth attendance, and bonesetting. The National Institute of Traditional Medicine has 17 branches throughout the country. It disseminates information and conducts research on traditional medicine. In particular, the Institute is responsible for a research program in traditional medicine known as the General Direction of Research and Technology. This program is responsible for carrying out clinical research, conducting medical anthropological research, gathering demographic statistics, and facilitating the integration of traditional and allopathic medicine. It is also charged with promoting the protection, control, and cultivation of medicinal plants.

Regulatory Situation

Traditional medicine was officially prohibited in Peru in 1969, but the prohibition was not enforced. The National Institute of Traditional Medicine is the official institution working on the regulation of traditional medicine. The Congress of the Republic is discussing potential laws and statutes for the regulation of traditional medicine. A bill on traditional medicine was proposed in 1999, but has not yet been passed.

Although there is no official licence in Peru for the practice of traditional medicine, the Ministry of Health issues practice permits. A registry of traditional medicine practitioners is currently being developed in Peru.

The Ministerial Decree for the Creation of Rural and Urban Peripheral Health Services places priority on the investigation and preservation of traditional medicine.

Section 4 of the Supreme Decree 010-97-SA of 1997 regulates plant medicines and natural resources of medicinal value. It defines and classifies plant medicines and natural resources of medicinal value, outlines procedures and requirements for their registration, and details the requirements that must be met for the manufacture and sale of plant medicines.

Education and Training

Students of traditional medicine learn via apprenticeships involving practice, observation, and videos as well as from personal experiences, revelations, and dreams. In some cases, medical skills are passed down within families. The National Institute of Traditional Medicine provides official training programs in traditional medicine.

In addition, some universities and non-governmental organizations registered with the Ministry of Health offer programs in traditional medicine for traditional medicine practitioners. Some universities offer seminars, workshops, meetings, and conferences in traditional medicine for students studying allopathic medicine. Courses, workshops, and informal presentations are also offered to official health personnel.