Main Article Content
The paper uses cases from Eastern and Southern Africa to demonstrate the symbiotic relationship between biodiversity, traditional medicines and public health care. It advances the argument that industrialization, urbanization and western medicine impact on African indigenous medical and knowledge systems. Secondary sources reveal that more than 80 per cent of the livelihood needs of the African poor, including health care, depend on biological resources. Therefore, the loss of biodiversity impacts on public health with regard to medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to new global challenges such as climate change. Besides the theoretical discussions, the paper provides examples from the two African regions on biodiversity as a source of traditional medicines and health care; the status of traditional medicines including the role of traditional medicine in male reproductive health care; the threats to biodiversity and traditional medicines and policy implications.