Increasingly modern medicine is proving that it is not sustainable. At the same time that we have 'cured' people with our 'magic bullet' single-active medicines, we have also created major long term health problems through drug side-effects and through long term resistance. On top of this, the truth is that for many people modern drugs don't work, a fact recently admitted by a vice president of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. "The vast majority of drugs - more than 90 per cent -only work in 30 or 50 percent of the people." Dr. Allen Roses, vice president of genetics, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Nowhere is this problem more acute than in the so called developing world - in Africa and parts of Asia. In these countries whole communities are dying from HIV and AIDS. The chemical drug solution has not provided the big answer to this world wide problem. Indeed it may have created it.
Finally though, we are beginning to accept that the natural world from which so many of our synthetic drugs came, may again have a contribution to play both in treating disease and maintaining long term sustainable health. Major international medical agencies like WHO (World Health Organisation) are now committed to carrying out research to test natural medicines and supplements.
The team at BeeVital have supported a number of projects in Africa over many years in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa. Claire Scutt, our Zambian Coordinator for Africa, has for the last 20 years worked like a missionary for propolis; providing products to HIV and AIDS projects, holding seminars and training sessions and most importantly tracking down and talking to key health decision makers in many of the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Bees for Development, based in the UK, promote beekeeping as a tool for rural economic development throughout the world - with a strong emphasis on countries in Africa. Dr. Nicola Bradbear, its founder, has done a great deal to stimulate an understanding of the importance of the role of beekeeping not just in the economic sphere but also in providing products which improve nutrition and health. BeeVital and Bees for Development are working together to introduce the idea of collecting propolis; both to add economic value to beekeeping and to encourage people to recognise the local presence of a powerful and effective medicine which they can use themselves.