Sierra Leone

Alban Africa

Sierra Leone

Regulatory Situation

In Sierra Leone, the Medical and Dental Surgeons Act of 1966 states that nothing in the Act is to be construed as prohibiting or preventing the practice of “customary systems of therapeutics”, provided that such systems are not dangerous to life or health. The Medical Practitioners and Dental Surgeons Decree of 1994 repeals the Medical and Dental Surgeons Act of 1966. However, it retains exemptions for traditional medical practitioners. Section 43 reads as follows:

Nothing in this Decree shall be construed to prohibit or prevent the practice of customary systems of therapeutics or the practice of druggists authorized by any law; but nothing in this Decree shall be construed to authorize the practice of any customary system of therapeutics which is dangerous to life or health.

In Sierra Leone, some traditional medicine practitioners are involved with the primary health care program.

The Traditional Medicine Act of 1996 regulates the profession of traditional medicine and controls the supply, manufacture, storage, and transportation of herbal medicines. The Act establishes the Scientific and Technical Board on Traditional Medicine and two committees under it: the Disciplinary Committee to advise the Board on matters relating to the professional conduct of traditional medicine practitioners and the Drugs Committee to advise the Board on the classification and standardization of traditional medicines.

The Scientific and Technical Board is charged with securing the highest practicable standards in the provision of traditional medicine in Sierra Leone by promoting the proper training and examination of students of traditional medicine, controlling the registration of traditional health practitioners, and regulating the premises where traditional medicine is practiced.

It is provided in the Traditional Medicine Act that the Board shall have a registrar who shall make and keep the Register of Traditional Medical Practitioners. Anyone whose name is entered in this Register shall be regarded as a member of the Sierra Leone Traditional Healers Association. Cancellation and suspension of registration, annual publication of the list of registered traditional medicine practitioners, restriction on use of the title “Traditional Medical Practitioner”, and the provision of medical aid by traditional medicine practitioners are also covered by the law. Part IV of the Act contains a list of the diseases for which traditional medical providers may not advertise treatments.

Education and Training

Sierra Leone has no official training facilities or programs in traditional medicine.