The area of Promotion and Equality of Health in this rural area promotes a strategy for the adequate incorporation of traditional and complementary therapies within public health systems.
At present, despite the great advances in medicine, there are diseases for which science has not yet found an answer. In several sectors of the country, especially in the rural area, some people prefer alternative treatments because they simply rely more on traditional medicine.
According to the World Health Organization, traditional medicine is a set of knowledge, skills and practices based on indigenous theories, beliefs and experiences of different cultures, whether or not they are explicable.
These are used for the maintenance of health as well as for the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical or mental illnesses. The knowledge of ancestral medicine has been transmitted from generation to generation.
The Health Promotion and Equality area of the Sigchos District promotes a strategy for the adequate incorporation of traditional and complementary therapies within public health systems. For this purpose, an ancestral medicine course was implemented for the group of healers of the canton, recognized by the Ministry of Public Health or by the community itself.
The workshops are held regularly since last year. According to Jorge Moncayo, in charge of health promotion and equality at Hospital de Sigchos since 2017, the training is continuous. The main objective is to ensure that they are able to recognize signs and symptoms of alarm that should be treated by scientific medicine.
“The idea is to work with the reference system and against reference, to convert healers, midwives and yachas into strategic allies.” The doctor explained that in rural areas of Sigchos they have executed projects to rescue barter as an alternative to pay for the services of ancestral healers.
This is due to the limited economic possibilities of people in rural areas. Thanks to this system, patients can offer their agricultural or livestock products as a form of payment. Parallel to this, nutrition and intercultural health fairs have also been held in the areas of Sigchos to promote services, to rescue ancestral medicine, and the importance of the intercultural approach in health services.
In addition, we have worked with health promoting schools focused on the rescue of Andean food. These have been given training workshops that benefited 30 teachers. Health and the environment were the themes addressed. Added to this are the tours of observation and exchange of experiences in joint work with ancestral and western medicine in Baños, Puyo and Riobamba, with health personnel, indigenous leaders, experts in ancestral medicine, delegates from the cantonal and parochial councils.
Coordination meetings were organized with the organizations of the second degree (COICC of Cusubamba, Unocanc de Planchaloma, Unorig de Guangaje, Citigat de Tigua, Foich de Chugchilan, Uopic-P de Poaló, Unociz de Zumbahua, Uopij-J de Juigua Yacubamba, parochial, operative units, PDA, PASSE, FEPP), for monthly activities according to the POA.
Among the yachay, cuy pichay, yerbateros, scrubbers – who benefit from the training – there are approximately 40 who hope that eventually more professionals from alternative medicine who use herbs for the expulsion of evil spirits that supposedly cause the diseases.
“It is of vital importance to continue opening spaces for the research and development of an integral medicine, that gathers the best of the western and alternative, so that we can move towards less invasive treatments,” said Moncayo.
Abram Sigcha, a native of the community of Palo Quemado de Sigchos, is dedicated to healing using the knowledge of ancestral medicine he learned from his grandfather. He is 59 years old and 30 lives in Saquisilí, where she works in a rustic office in the Tambillo neighborhood.
He did not have the opportunity to attend the MSP trainings in his canton, but he talked with his colleagues. “They told me that the coordinated help between both services is very positive, it is an advance in traditional medicine.” (I)