The Lancet: WHO's new vision for traditional medicine (8)

7 September, 2023

Dear all,

The new review paper that might be relevant to the discussion (published today)

Loreche, A.M., Pepito, V.C.F. and Dayrit, M.M. (2023), "Self-care practices for common acute conditions in the Philippines: a scoping review", International Journal of Health Governance, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.


The authors identified various self-care practices for acute conditions among the general population and indigenous peoples in the Philippines from 26 studies included in the review: the use of medicines with and without a prescription, appropriate and inappropriate antibiotic use, use of medicinal plants and other traditional and alternative therapies and products, recreational activities and healthy habits and behaviors, and self-management or seeking care from traditional healers (albularyo or manggagamot) or health professionals. A number of considerations influenced their decision on how to manage symptoms, including perceived severity of the condition, availability and perceived effectiveness of treatment, cost, and advice from trusted sources of health information.

Social implications

Filipinos engage in a variety of “safe” (or evidence-informed) and “unsafe” (or harmful) self-care practices. While the term “self-care” is not routinely used by the general population and health providers, it is widely enculturated and practiced in the Philippines. Self-care benefits individuals and the health system, but there are also practices that increase risk of adverse outcomes and death including inappropriate antibiotic use, prescription sharing and reuse, and delays in seeking adequate treatment from a health professional. To leverage on self-care in advancing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goals, the authors recommend a national strategy that provides guidance on how to practice responsible self-care, further research on the effectiveness and safety of alternative medicine and other priority areas, and better integration of self-care in the formal education and health systems. The authors also propose that the research agenda on self-care include acute health conditions, given their impact and burden on health and the economy.


This is the first published review of self-care practices for managing common acute health conditions, which captured practices of various groups and populations including indigenous peoples.

Irina Ibragimova

HIFA profile: Irina Ibraghimova is an independent consultant with a PhD. in library sciences and more than 20 years’ international experience in ICT for health projects. She now serves as a Co-editor for the International Journal of Health Governance (Emerald Publishing). Professional interests: Information and health literacy, evidence-based practice, science communication and medical journals editing. She is a HIFA country representative for Croatia: