29 Jun 2009

Pacific people face risks from traditional medicine

6:19 am on 29 June 2009

A surgeon working in Vanuatu says Pacific people's preference for traditional medicine is placing them at risk.

Consultant surgeon, Dr Richard Walsh, is to push for a marrying of both traditional and western health care when he addresses a significant gathering of Pacific health professionals from around the region in the Cook Islands this week.

Dr Walsh consults at Vanuatu's Vila Central Hospital, and says governments and health agencies need to work together to stop the rate of amputations Pacific people suffer as a result of refusing conventional medicine.

"Ninety percent of my practice in Vanuatu I see complications of traditional medicines that in most cases we have to...ah...the patients have to lose...ah...some of their human parts, yes"