Our aims are to:
- – save the knowledge of ethnic traditional doctors and insure its transmission to the next generations;
- – validate traditional medicine postulates thanks to modern scientific tools;
- – enhance the use of PBM as a complement to the modern healthcare system;
- – give tradipraticiens the role of interface between both healthcare systems.
- Census of traditional doctors within ethnic groups
The NGO is working with at least one traditional doctor in every ethnic group of Ratanakiri and Mondolkiri provinces (Brao, Kreung, Kavet, Lun, Tampuon, Jaray, Kachok, Phnong, Lao and Chen). – Census of traditional doctors in more than 60% of the villages of Ratanakiri province. – Creation of a network of traditional doctors – « Ethnic Traditional Healers Network »- gathering up around 60 qualified traditional doctors. The aim of this network is to share information about traditional medicine, to give trainings and to create an interface between traditional doctors, NGOs and other health organisms. From now on, in collaboration with MDLN, this network has enabled the NGO “Health Unlimited” to develop Malaria programs with traditional doctors. – Recently, MDLN has extended this network to traditional doctors of the Phnong ethnic group of Mondolkiri, in partnership with the NGO “Nomad RSI” located in Sen Monorom. Prospects: - Expand and strengthen the “Ethnic Traditional Healers Network” both in Ratanakiri and Mondolkiri provinces. - Continue to census traditional doctors both in Ratanakiri and Mondolkiri provinces. - Develop this network to trigger new collaborations.
- Ethno-botanical studies of local medicinal plants
- In order to safeguard knowledge on traditional medicine, MDLN has launched many ethno-botanical studies in the various types of forests of Ratanakiri. Collaborations with the Ministry of Health (MoH), National Centre of Traditional Medicine and ethnic traditional doctors have allowed us to identify around 300 species. For every plant, MDLN has determined the vernacular name in the languages of the ethnic groups, the botanical description necessary to recognize the plant, the medicinal uses for every traditional doctor, other uses (food, tool, ritual) and their symbolisms. Prospects: – Organize new ethno-botanical studies with traditional doctors from the network in order to identify new plants and species. - Continue to take pictures of medicinal plants (seeds, leaves, flowers, fruits, etc) to illustrate the botanical books that the NGO will soon publish.
- Publication of botanical works on “Medicinal plants in the traditional medicine of the ethnic groups of North-East of Cambodia”
- MDLN has wished to support and collaborate with the NCTM for the publication of this 2nd volume on “Cambodia Medicinal Plants”. Since 2006, MDLN has collaborated with the NCTM. The botanical studies realized together in Ratanakiri have permitted to set up the basis of a sustainable and fair exchange between Khmer tradipraticiens and traditional doctors of the ethnic groups. – For all the 300 plants listed, traditional doctors from every ethnic group had written identification files. Based on these files, MDLN wishes to publish, in September 2009, a first volume on 40 medicinal plants from the traditional pharmacopeia of ethnic groups of Ratanakiri province. The botanical information and the medicinal uses of these plants will be expressed in a way that everyone could understand it. Moreover, every plant will be illustrated by pictures of its seeds, leaves, fruits, barks, etc, to facilitate their identification by the villagers. Nevertheless, to avoid misuses of these plants, this book will not indicate how to prepare the PBM. Prospects: - Publish more botanical works based on the identification files. - Ensure the distribution of these books, in every villages of Ratanaki
- A big part of the diseases that commonly affect the ethnic groups of Ratanakiri is related to dietary deficiencies and malnutrition problems. MDLN has looked for diversifying their diet by bringing in some new aliments with important nutriments that they are lacking.
- In order to fight their calcium / iron / vitamins deficiencies, MDLN has launched the « Moringa Project ».
- Finally, if a balanced diet is the basis of all preventive medicine, its effectiveness is reinforced by introducing aliments and condiments that have medicinal values. It mainly concerns garlic, onion, ginger, curcuma, etc., which effectively completes our disease prevention politic when they are regularly eaten.
- Project « Moringa »
In 2008, MDLN has trained the traditional doctors, TL, VW and the villagers to:
plant, cultivate and harvest Moringa plants;
transform Moringa leaves into powder, easier to stock and conserve;
introduce Moringa powder in their daily diet.
- Once the trainings have been completed, MDLN has built some tree nurseries, distributed seeds and then seedlings to villagers. At present time, in 3 districts, more than 500 Moringa trees have been planted in communitarian gardens (20mx20m), family gardens and farms.
- Moreover, the NGO « DWHH » has recently offered to develop, in partnership with MDLN, the “Moringa Project” in 30 new villages (2 years contract).
- – Develop, in partnership with DWHH, the project in more districts.
- – ToT (Training of the Trainers): train TL and VW to train the villagers in the neighbouring villages.
- – Follow, assess and monitor the villages where Moringa have been planted and used into a daily diet (general health studies, etc).
- Project « Fruits, Vegetables and Spices »
- In 2008, in Taveng village, MDLN has distributed to the Health Centre, the school and above all to every family, 5 fruit trees (mango, papaya, guava, lemon and orange) and seeds of vegetables, which have important nutritional and medicinal values. An agronomist from MDLN has trained the villagers to cultivate and look after these plants in the family gardens created by the NGO.
- To improve its preventive action through medicinal food, MDLN has encouraged the villagers to include more frequently spices in their daily diet and has helped them to plant theses spices in the communitarian and family gardens. Priority has been given to these spices according to their medicinal values both as condiments and as ingredients for family and home-made remedies (garlic, onion, ginger, curcuma, etc).
- Lastly, MDLN has trained the traditional doctors, TL, VW and the villagers to make PBM with these “Fruits, Vegetables and Spices”.
- – Develop this project in other villages, in partnership with other NGOs like « DWHH » and « CEDAC ».
- – Create some programs for schools, in collaboration with the MoH , the MoEYS and NGOs.
- – Investigate nutritional value of some wild plants from the forest that ethnic groups used to eat.Nutrition, « alicaments » et médecine préventive
MDLN is a member of the:
« Ratanakiri NGO Network » which gathers together all NGOs managers from Ratanakiri and deals with general problems.
« Ratanakiri Health Sector » with all the NGOs from Ratanakiri working on health related issues.
« Ratanakiri Natural Resources Management Sector » with all NGOs from Ratanakiri working on environmental issues and NRM.
- Fostering cooperation between the different sectors results from the partnership policy to which the NGO is attached since it starts. These monthly meetings are a way to share our field experiences, to create new partnerships and to strengthen the collaboration between all the actors of Ratanakiri. This networking has brought us to launch 2 co-projects with the NGO “Health Unlimited” and one with the NGO “Can-Do” and the NGO “Non Timber Forest Product”. Moreover, in June 2008, MDLN, Health Unlimited, Thai Malaria Control Project, CNM and PHD, had gathered together to create the « Ratanakiri Malaria Group ». Our main goal was to share our experiences in order to set up a real action plan, more efficient and appropriated to the specific needs of the targeted population. In this team, the role of MDLN is to investigate on how traditional medicine can help fighting malaria, in particular through the use of natural insecticides and repellent plants.
- – Strengthen and organize the 2-years partnership between MDLN and DWHH from July 2009.
- – Develop more projects in partnership with JICA, CARE, NTFP, HU and other NGOs.
- – Develop more projects in partnership with the MoH and the MoEYS.
In 2008, MDLN has launched a project called « Plant-based soaps and washing powders with medicinal value » which aims at preventing and curing skin diseases and parasites (cf 2.).
Two kinds of soaps, one preventive, one curative, and one kind of washing powder will be produced. These products are easily made by adding medicinal herbal extracts in different dosages to the basic components of soaps and washing powder. Their preventive or curative action depends indeed on the dosage of the extract of medicinal plants.
MDLN strongly supports and encourages this project because:
it fills traditional doctors, TL and VW with enthusiasm;
villagers will save up for their soap / washing powder budget;
it will generate some income for the community through the marketing of their production;
it contributes to reduce water pollution of rivers (ex: mercury) and the number of packaging thrown away (1 packaging per day for every person);
it strengthens the pride of ethnic groups to sell, to khmers and foreigners, products based on their skills and culture;
and above all, it confirms to villagers that their medicine is not outdated but definitively modern and therefore must be saved.
- The first step of this project was to realize market studies, feasibility studies, field investigations to estimate their needs for soaps / washing powder and create a consumption table. Secondly, it has been hard for MDLN to gather all the components needed. And afterwards, the trainings on skin diseases and parasites have allowed us to elaborate efficient remedies, herbal extracts such as medicinal oils (Azadirechta Indica oil, Cassia Alata oil) which will be later used to make medicinal soaps and washing powder.
Nevertheless, for safety reasons related to the manipulation of soda caustica and because of the high humidity rate during the rainy season which may jeopardy the drying of soaps and washing powders, MDLN had to restrict its activity to few trials of fabrication, in the NGO office in Banlung. The purpose is to work out the best protocols and safety norms that later, TL and VW will follow.
- – Make trial soaps to work out the best dosages.
- – Train, in Taveng, traditional doctors, TL and VW to make soaps and washing powder
- – Market and distribute these products at a “social” price, barely higher than the production cost.
- – Create a range of soaps for skin care and natural beauty products.
- – Create repellent soaps within the framework of the Malaria project.