Regulation of Traditional Medicine in Kenya: Kenya’s Health Bill, 2015- Japheth Mati

In our post of January 9, 2015 entitled “What prospects for complementary use of African and western systems of medicine? we called on African governments to establish appropriate regulatory mechanisms for accommodation of traditional medicine within the national health care system. This was in consideration of the fact that WHO’s estimates show that up to80 percent of the population in some places rely on traditional medicine for their primary health care.

Already, evidence exists that shows that in Kenya traditional medicine and modern (western) medicine are frequently used complementarily, with traditional therapies serving as the first-line treatment before modern drugs were sought. As such, there was urgent need for mechanisms to  ensure safety and effectiveness of traditional medicine.

So, we say kudos to Kenya’s National Department of Health for publishing the Health Bill, 2015, which among other measures seeks to establish regulatory mechanisms for the practice of traditional medicine. The relevant sections are:

  • Clause 42 (1) and (2): “The national government department of health shall formulate policies to guide the practice of traditional and alternate medicine. The county executive department for health shall ensure implementation of any policies thereto.”
  • Clause 42 (1): “There shall be established regulatory body by an Act of Parliament to regulate the practice of traditional and alternative medicine.
  • Clause 47: “The national government department of health shall develop policy guidelines for referral mechanisms and a system of referral from practitioners of traditional and alternative medicine to conventional health facilities…….”
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