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Some programmes have worked with health organizations to bring awareness and prevention to remote communities living near protected areas or practicing community-based natural resource management (CBNRM): Do you have experience of this, or questions about how to do it? (5 answers)

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For example, in a WWF project in Kiunga, Kenya; in a NACSO project in Namibia; and in a Jane Goodall Institute project in the Gombe area in Tanzania.
-- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --

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    Nov 11, 2008
    RE: DAY 2: REDUCING IMPACTS -- the role of medicinal plants by Judy Oglethorpe on 03-08-2007 
    Judy Oglethorpe
    Posts: 7 
    hi,

    one aspect that has not come up yet is the role of medicinal plants in treating the opportunistic infections such as diarrhea, oral thrush, shingles and coughs. Where people do not have access to modern medicines, medicinal plants often play a key role. For example the Tanga AIDS Working Group in Tanzania, a partnership of traditional healthers and a government AIDS hospital, reports treating 4800 AIDS patients with herbal remedies, resulting in increased appetite and weight gain, stopping diarrhea, reducing fever, and curing other ailments (http://www.tawg.net/ ).

    But wild stocks of medicinal plants are threatened in many areas because of the increased pressure due to AIDS. Traditional healers in a 6-site Malawi/Mozambique study reported increased scarcity of 32 medicinal species, driven by:

    * increase in destructive harvesting as more people harvest, often without traditional knowledge of how to do it sustainably (85% of healers)

    * increased commercial harvesting by outsiders (69%)

    * conversion of forest land (54%)

    * policies prohibiting collection in some areas (for example, protected areas) (23%)



    (Barany et al. 2005, http://www.ifpri.org/events/conferences/2005/durban/papers/baranyWP.pdf)



    So what can environment organizations and local communities do to reduce this pressure and promote the role of medicinal plants in treating opportunistic infections? Here are some ideas that have been recommended:

    * strengthen traditional healer associations

    * train community members in sustainable harvesting

    * strengthen tenure and governance - control outsiders and enforce community collection rules

    * cultivate plants in gardens (easy access, but technical challenges); plant seedlings in forest

    * increase efficiency of extraction of active ingredients

    * continue research on medicinal plants



    This seems to be an area where environment organizations and local communities can play a much bigger role, in collaboration with traditional healers. It would be great to hear your thoughts on this!
    -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --
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    Nov 11, 2008
    REDUCING IMPACTS -- the role of medicinal plants [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] by Daulos Mauambeta on 03-09-2007 
    Daulos Mauambeta
    Posts: 3 
    Dear All,

    Indeed there is increasing and unsustainable use of medicinal plants to
    treat opportunistic infections. In Malawi, we have seen a concentration and
    increase of Traditional Healers close to major hospitals. We have also seen
    the mushrooming of coffin workshops around hospitals. Of late, we have heard
    of claims of traditional healers having found medicine that can cure AIDS.
    We had what was called MCHAPE- (cleansing); then came CHAMBE and more
    recently MALAWIX. These are concorcontions that Traditional Healers have
    claimed could cure AIDS. However, what has been observed is that they cure
    the opportunistic diseases.

    On reducing impacts, promoting the establishment of herbal gardens is
    proving to pay dividends amongst many traditional healers who used to travel
    long distances to fetch desired plants. The International Traditional
    Healers Association of Malawi is encouraging its membership to establish
    their own herbal gardens to mitigates overuse of plants in the wild.

    What is happening in other countries?

    Regards

    Daulos
    -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --
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    Nov 11, 2008
    DAY 2: REDUCING IMPACTS -- What is the role for agriculture, conservation? [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] by Daulos Mauambeta on 03-08-2007 
    Daulos Mauambeta
    Posts: 3 
    Dear All,

    If Conservation Organizations do not have financial resources to run health
    projects, this is where partnerships, collaborations and linkages ought to
    be made. In one of the messages, I did say Wildlife and Environmental
    Society of Malawi has been using other health NGOs to carry out the HIV &
    AIDS activities on its behalf. There is a budget that we set aside for
    hiring outside services for HIV & AIDS activities. We can then concentrate
    on our core business.

    Regards


    Daulos
    -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --
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      Nov 11, 2008
      RE: DAY 2: REDUCING IMPACTS -- What is the role for agriculture, conservation? [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] by Baraka Kalangahe on 03-09-2007 
      Baraka Kalangahe
      Posts: 5 
       
      May I also contribute to waht Judy and Daulos commented on partnership with other organization for effective integration of Population, Health and Environment. In implementing the PEACE Project in Tanzania, our organization Tanzania Coastal Management Partnership has been collaborating with TaTEDO for training affected household to establish wood lot, constructing and using energy efficient stoves. Also being non health experts we have been collaborating with USIKWASA for delivering communication massages through Theater for Development, TFD has proved to be an effective tools for delivering HIV/AIDS and Conservation linkages massages to the communities. Therefore I encourage conservation organasation and practitioners not to stick to conservation and NRM but collaborate with other sectors and descplines.



      Contributing to the point which Jacques raised as to why agriculture should focus on agriculture as HIV/AIDS prevention and mitigation strategies. We have introduced Paprika farming (pepper) as livelihood activities in four villages around Saadani National Park where in additional to HIV/AIDS communities are facing food insecurity due wild animals especially baboon have been destroying crops. Baboon has proved not to eat Paprika. In one village they opted for Milk fish farming. All these natural resource base enterprises are potentially viable livelihood activities which can reduce vulnerability to women and also reduce destructive activities which some household may opt as a coping strategy .
      -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --
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    Nov 11, 2008
    RE: DAY 2: REDUCING IMPACTS -- What is the role for agriculture, conservation? [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] [HIV/AIDS & NRM discussion forum] by Judy Oglethorpe on 03-09-2007 
    Judy Oglethorpe
    Posts: 7 
       Here is a response from my colleague Cara Honzak:

    Hello all,

    Following on Judy Oglethorpe's posting yesterday (apologies that I am a day behind!), I would like to offer at least one example of a project managed by a conservation organization that effectively integrates health (including HIV/AIDS) work, without compromising its conservation and NRM goals. In fact, the health work in which this organization has engaged has helped advance its conservation goals. I would like to provide a number of other examples, but unfortunately will not have time.

    On the Northeastern coast of Kenya near the border with Somalia is a WWF conservation project in the Kiunga Marine National Reserve (KMNR). WWF-KMNR partners with the Ministry of Health, and until recently, also with the non-governmental health organization AMREF (African Medical and Research Foundation, known for their flying doctor service), to deliver general health and family planning services to the population living in and around the Reserve. The population of about 20,000, which is growing at a rate of 2.5% per year, is extremely poor and marginalized, and yet lives inside one of the most ecologically pristine and biologically important marine reserves on the eastern coast of Africa. It is home to all four species of marine turtle in the Indian Ocean, the world's largest colony of roseate terns nest on the rugged offshore islands, and lush forests of mangroves, representing 15% of Kenya's mangrove population, act as feeding and breeding grounds for the African fish eagle, spoonbill and pelican.

    The area's marine and terrestrial natural resources are under threat from destructive and unsustainable methods of extraction, prompted by population growth and migration. The depletion of these resources is entrenching job insecurity, formalizing the lack of employment opportunities and perpetrating poverty, which in turn fosters out-migration to urban centers in search of income. Inadequate health education and resources exacerbates this situation. The social consequences are tangibly evident in the increase in female-headed households, and in compromised health and nutritional standards.

    Before WWF started its health work in this area, the health statistics lagged far behind those in the rest of Kenya- with an average fertility rate of 6 children per woman and high maternal and infant mortality rates. HIV rates were not well established given the inaccessibiliy to testing and health services, but due to the high rates of migration (related to fishing and crossing the border with Somalia), and the high rates of HIV all around the area, it was assumed that rates were increasing- and probably quite quickly.

    WWF's interventions through the health and conservation project have been helpful in diminishing these conservation threats while also helping to improve health statistics for the local population. WWF provides security and logistical support to the health sector to bring in a mobile clinic to all of the communities in and around the Reserve. Through the clinic, WWF and the health staff also provide integrated health and conservation educational messages. Staff from the health and conservation organizations work together to deliver these messages. This improves WWF's ability to reach women with conservation messages and the health sector's ability to reach men with health messages-crossing traditional barriers much more quickly than normal.

    As one example, the partnerships have made a big difference in helping men to become convinced of the importance of family planning. These communities are highly traditional and Muslim, and until quite recently men were publicly unwilling to discuss family planning. WWF - through its health work- has already begun to discuss family planning, and the relationship of resources degradation to population growth in public meetings. Men have also begun to seek out family planning services from the project. It is a major change in community attitude and is a direct result of the fact this was an integrated project.

    Further, most of these communities otherwise would not have access to health services, and through the clinic receive quality care- immunizations, basic curative medicines, family planning, and malaria treatment and prevention (including bednets for pregnant women and children). The service has helped treat all kinds of regular illness, and of course opportunistic infections caused by HIV, allowing people to live healthier, more productive lives. Also, the partnership has increased family planning use by providing access to modern methods, which will contribute to reducing fertility rates. The mobile clinic has also distributed more than 3000 condoms. It is hoped that both of these successes will also lead to reductions in HIV transmission (although that is an indirect benefit).

    Finally, in the two and a half years that WWF has implemented this health and conservation project, WWF has also seen an improvement in its relationship with local communities in the area. Communities have given WWF credit for bringing much-needed health services to their families, which has dramatically improved WWF's ability to achieve conservation goals. One result of this improved goodwill towards WWF has been that fishermen are more willing to engage in activities such as a gear exchange program that WWF carried out-- in which WWF provides 50% of the cost of new, sustainable fishing gear in exchange for them turning in their unsustainable fishing gear. WWF has now been able to convince all registered fishermen to exchange their gear- a task that had been very difficult to achieve prior to WWF bringing in the health initiatives. Also, WWF has seen huge increases in communities' levels of reporting of marine turtle nests- one of the key objectives of the project.

    I hope this sheds some light on the question of whether it makes sense for a conservation organization to be engaged in health/HIV/AIDS work.

    Cara Honzak
    _____________________________________

    Cara Honzak
    Senior Program Officer for Population, Health & Environment
    Community Conservation Unit
    World Wildlife Fund
    1250 24th Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20037-1193
    Phone: 202.778.9632
    Fax: 202.861.8377
    cara.honzak@wwfus.org
    www.worldwildlife.org

    WWF: for a living planet
    -- Updated Mar 30, 2011 --

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Date CreatedTuesday, November 11, 2008 5:50 PM
Date ModifiedWednesday, March 30, 2011 9:34 AM
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