UNAM promotes the preservation of traditional medicine

UNAM University’s Undergraduate Program for Cultural and Intercultural Diversity Studies (PUIC) has been promoting the Totonaka Traditional School of Medicine project, in order to pass on their knowledge about healthcare to new generations ever since. “Therapists and midwives are the first to respond to emergencies in communities.”

It was four years ago, when a group of grandparents and 70 traditional doctors approached union researchers with a proposal to create a space and study plan “that would allow seniors to pass on their knowledge,” allowing the program to be created because “more and more young people are seeking to immigrate to the United States.” They feared losing this knowledge accumulated for centuries, And forever.”

“Let’s consider that in Mexico there are many indigenous settlements without health centers or infrastructure to care for sick or difficult pregnancies, so therapists and midwives are the first to respond to these emergencies in the community,” said program researcher, Carolina. Sanchez Garcia.

“If health complications in Indigenous communities are serious, then without therapists it will be even more dangerous, because they do not have channels of communication in their communities, transportation or resources to reach a hospital or care center in a timely manner, the traditional method and ultimately doctors are,” he stressed. The only ones there to solve problems.

In this way, in October 2019, the first diploma course began, and 13 young people graduated from it. He received lessons from specialists from the United Nations mission, From Temazcaliros, midwives, Rezandros, Subadores, Yerberus. They were educated in various healing arts and enhanced their knowledge of their language, worldview and culture.

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Currently, the school or Pugaltawakga Likuchu, in Totonaka, is a project under development in which the consortium is working with Center for Aboriginal Arts and academics from other institutions.

“The next thing is to evaluate the results of this first experiment to take advantage of what has worked, find out what needs to be improved and apply it in school.”

Health Dialogue

More than healers, midwives or herbalists, it is considered to be Young people leaving their classrooms will be “healthy conversations”, A word chosen by traditional physicians and original spiritual guides, without interference from their academic counterparts.

“In that we want to be very clear, we are respectful and know that it is not up to us to choose words or categories. If this is to restore a typical process of the Totonac community, then everything must be done on their terms,” the union researcher said.

He added that although there is a legal framework in Mexico on traditional medicine, it will remain a dead letter if the new generations of “health conversations” They lack formal recognition and certification. If what the law says does not have a real effect on institutions, this practice will end up as a “non-institutional form of social response to disease”.

It is necessary to advance on this path, but we must first avoid losing the said knowledge and key To achieve this is the transmission of knowledge between generations; The academic stressed that this is what we are looking for with the Totonaka School of Traditional Medicine.

In order to create more and more documents that support the validity of these health practices, researchers, educators and students at Pukgaltawakga Likuchu are working on two brochures: one for midwives and one for midwives. Also in the Dictionary of Traditional Medicine Totonac, who will join the Library of Traditional Mexican Medicine at UNAM, a symbolic project of linguist Carlos Zola (former president of the union), one of the people who contributed to the school’s project and to the structuring of its educational model.

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