Anamed – Acion for Natural Medicine – was founded in 1986 in a jungle village in DR Congo by the pharmacist Dr. Hans-Martin Hirt and local healers, doctors and nurses with the aim of self-responsible health and nutritional care in the tropics.
In the preface of his book “Natural Medicine in the Tropics I” he says:
“During my six years of ‘apprenticeship’ in the African bush in DR Congo, Central Africa, I met thousands of people who never produced even a small bucket full of rubbish. Whatever survives them may serve as their gravestone, for example a tin mug. Twelve-years-old construct their own houses using natural materials and pangas only, huts which remain waterproof for years (…) Who among us would be able to build buffalo-traps, climb palm trees?
The “Third World” has every reason to be proud. It provides the rest of the world with nature-oriented guidelines on how to cultivate this earth and protect it against destruction. It presents the means by with our globe could easily survive for another few million years. The crator of the expression “Third World”, President Nehru, in fact wanted to describe the third way, the better way!
In reality, the “First”, capitalist “World” has formed a coalition with the former communist “Second World” that exploits our earth mercilessly, as if there were no tomorrow. This coalition, located mainly in the North of our globe, is still controlling the “Third World”, mainly located in the South, trough economic colonisation. The North dictates prices, the rules of trade, the conditions for loans and terms of debt repayments. The North stimulates the lust consumption through satellite TV and the internet. Further, the North makes drastic impacts upon the environment of the South with acid rain, by logging and mining in the tropical forests, aand by dumping toxic wastes and products (…) (See also http://www.siliconafrica.com/the-dark-side-of-the-european-union/ )
To soothe their consciences, people from the North send a few million dollars to Africa to help out, maybe sometimes a gift of some barrels of cough syrup, which just happens also to help safeguard some jobs in the North. A dramatically more helpful approach would be, however, to facilitate African people in:
VALUING WHAT THEY KNOW, AND RELEARNING WHAT THEY HAVE KNOWN BEFORE!
This would mean spreading genuine local knowledge, instead of simply importing products from Europe or America. But if all people in the Tropics were to become well-informed, the handsome profits and jobs of some large firms in the North would be put at risk. I mean those firms that have redefined as “intellectual property” what, in the South, used to be as common knowledge, and have taken out patents on it (…) It becomes important that, together with the people of the Tropics, we discover and share the secrets of nature.
Religion cannot be separated from health.
In my lectures given in German universities, the students made some critical remarks; “Such a project on Natural medicine is really great, but why on earth in connection with a church?” For me the answer is clear. In tropical countries the church is often the only institution still allowed to express an alternative opinion, to criticize (…)
Our aim is that christians, whether in the state or church health system, create NATURAL MEDICINE HOSPITALS, witch are cheap for poor and expensive for the rich, clean, and well provided with Natural medicine, where the limited supply of money is used to import only those medicines tah cannot be replaced by medicinal plants, and in which spiritual care is also given…
We try to present a holistic approach, caring for mind, body abd spirit, caring for the land, respecting the people for who and what they are, as well as their medicinal plants and their knowledge and experience of them (…)
Since 1977, numerous declarations of WHO have been demanding that traditional medicine should be studied and used. The practical realization of these demands is, however, still the exception. Thus even in the recent past, South Americans order tablets, ampoules and infusions from Europe or America, not knowing that many of the substances are extracted from “weeds” growing in front of thier own houses (…)
In the Tropics, because of war, poverty, rising prices and increasingly stringent patenting law, about 80% of the population no longer have to access to the imported, so-called “modern” medicine. But the knowledge of their own medicinal plants has been lost as well. In condemning over decades all manner of witchcraft and superstition, many whites have, at the same time, condemned also the best of local herbal medicine (…)”
References: “Natural Medicine in the Tropics” Dr Hans Martin Hirt and Bindanda M’Pia