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Neglected conditions
SP5-16 Towards integration of unconventional medicines in the public health service: the experience of rohingya refugees' in Bangladesh
  1. A H Mollik1,2,
  2. K Akter1,
  3. N K Azam2,
  4. F B Hossain3,
  5. H Rahman4,
  6. K B T M Chowdhury5,
  7. D Sen6,
  8. R McField2
  1. 1Peoples Integrated Alliance, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  2. 2Practical Academy on Wise Education and Research Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  3. 3South Asian Women's Rights Organization, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4Stamford University Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  5. 5Biogene Life Care, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  6. 6State College of Health Sciences, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Introduction Bangladesh hosts more than 200 000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. With no changes inside Myanmar in sight, Bangladesh must come to terms with the long-term needs of all the Rohingya refugees' in the country, and allow international organisations to expand services that benefit the Rohingya refugees as well as local communities. We therefore conducted a survey of plants used by the traditional healers in the Rohingya refugees' of Bangladesh.

Methods In-depth information regarding plants type, preparation of medicines, ailments for which they are used, dosages, and side effects if any, were obtained from the traditional healers. Plant samples were collected, and identified at the Bangladesh National Herbarium.

Results A total of 13 plants were collected, which were used to treat common ailments like coughs, colds, fevers, and dermatitis infections as well as a number of other diseases like gastritis, epilepsy, gynaecology, and hepatitis. The plant names obtained in our survey included Nigella sativa L., Arachis hypogaea L., Asteracantha longifolia Nees., Gendarussa vulgaris Nees., Brassica napus L., Vitex negundo L., Clerodendrum indicum (L.) Kuntze, Achyranthes aspera L., Wedelia chinensis (Osbeck) Merr., Melia azadirachta L., Paederia foetida L., Swertia chirata (Wall.) C. B. Clarke, and Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott.

Conclusion Since the Rohingya refugees' patients appeared to be generally satisfied with the treatment offered through these plants, they do not have to visit modern medical practitioners. It is important to conduct proper scientific studies towards discovery of compounds of interest in these plants, which can be used as safe and effective medicines.

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