End Date : 30.12.2015
Start Date : 10.02.2012
Documentation and Validation of medicinal plants used for managing reproductive health and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Ngamiland and North-Eastern Botswana
Department : Okavango Research Institute
Researcher : Prof. Barbara N. Ngwenya
The outbreak of the HIV/AIDS pandemic has reconfigured the way Tswana society views issues regarding reproductive health and sexuality. These include concerns pertaining to gendered fertility, virility and susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs may lead to reduced fertility, increase sexual dysfunctions and facilitate HIV-transmission by increasing both infections and HIV-susceptibility. STI treatment and management are major areas of engagement of some traditional doctors in Botswana. Knowledge systems of traditional medicine practitioners (TMPs) are largely based on medicinal plants. Worldwide, natural products derived from plants are gaining more importance in drug discovery processes for combating infectious diseases. However, the lack of proper documentation on medicinal plant uses and patient care case histories as well as scientific evidence for efficacy of traditional medical treatments often prevent a constructive engagement with, and recognition of the contribution of TMPs in Botswana’s primary health care system. The main objectives of this proposed interdisciplinary research project is to improve the documentation skills of TMPs on plant uses, patient care histories and to validate traditional medicinal plant uses in the treatment and management of STIs in two rural districts in Botswana. Antibiotic properties of plants against STI pathogens will be investigated in-vitro following collaborative data generation on STI plant treatments through consultative workshops, interviews, on-site observation and focus group discussion with TMPs, research scientist and district public health teams.
The main objectives of this proposed interdisciplinary research project is to improve the documentation skills of TMPs on plant uses, patient care histories and to validate traditional medicinal plant uses in the treatment and management of STIs in two rural districts in Botswana. The strength of this project lies in the fact that it anticipates to bring together TMPs, biomedical doctors and scientists to evaluate holistically traditional medical knowledge on treatment/management of STIs and reproductive health in a culture-sensitive manner.
Specific Research Objectives
· Identification of medicinal plants used by TMPs for treatment of sexually transmitted infections and sexual dysfunction.
· Validation of the efficacy of these medicinal plants by analysing their antimicrobial properties and cytotoxicity in an in vitro cell culture system.
· Improvement of documentation skills of TMPs related to patient case histories of traditional STI treatment in order to develop protocols for a retrospective treatment-outcome study