Thursday, 28 January 2010

Another case for indigenous knowledge protection, but how?

Up to 85 percent of the world’s population relies on traditional healers and medicines to meet their health care needs. In Uganda, for example, the ratio of traditional healers to population is 1:200, contrasting dramatically with biomedically trained health professionals, for which the ratio is 1:20,000. In the Andes of South America, there are no psychiatric or mental health services available to the Indigenous Peoples who therefore depend entirely on traditional healers, family and community support to cope with their mental health problems and to relieve their psychological distress, according to Psychiatrists and Traditional Healers.

"Traditional healing relies heavily on oral religious healing traditions and secular codified medicines. (ch 12) It becomes there a problem to assure that countries who have been contributing with their knowledge on plants and medicines have received neither money or recognition for that. Considering that pharmaceuticals are an important part of Western medicine, for a fair collaboration, intellectual property laws should be addressed concerning this since traditional healers have contributed directly for development is [in] science. (ch 4) (Metapsychology Online Review)

Another case for indigenous knowledge protection, but how? Noseweek's scathing commentary on RSA's attempt, entitled Netshitenze's Lemon excites critics but poses no solutions.

"MacDonald Netshitenze was appointed Registrar of Patents and Trade Marks in the mid 90s and a black man with attitude, and no background in IP, was about as welcome as a wet fart in a space suit. His new Bill will lead to all sorts of absurdities as it seeks to give protection to things which are not original, making traditional knowledge the antithesis of intellectual property."

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