One of the objectives of the Medical Mission is to rediscover the wisdom, tradition and culture of the people of the interior. The organization tries to realize this through close collaboration with the Amazon Conservation Team.
The relationship between the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) and de Medical Mission officially started with a Memorandum of Understanding between both parties in July 1999. The most important subject was the study of possibilities for integration of the traditional medicines in the conventional health care of the Medical Mission. The more beneficial and practical way the people of the interior deal with certain health problems by applying traditional medicines (Leishmania by the Trio Amerindians and treatment of fractures by the Saramacaners etc.) is one of the reasons for the Medical Mission to stimulate studies into the origin of these methods.
On Saturday July 8, 2000, a clinic for traditional medicines and a school for knowledge on traditional medicines were opened at Kwamalasamutu. The opening was the result of the hard work of the ACT and its members in Suriname, the shaman and his students and the community of Kwamalasamutu. An important aspect in this regard is the cooperation between this clinic and the local clinic of the Medical Mission, whereby mutual trust and exchange of knowledge are the focal point. For the Medical Mission, this was an important achievement because this may prove to be a way for better community participation in the healing process of a group. In this regard, in February 2002, a workshop was held in Kwamalasamutu entitled “Traditional and Western Medicine” attended by health care workers from the clinics from both Kwamalasamutu and Pelelutepu, where in August 2001 a traditional clinic was opened according to the same model next to the clinic of the Medical Mission.
At this moment, a study is being conducted that evaluates the reasons for consultations, treatments and results of the treatments in the clinics of the Medical Mission and the traditional clinics. The collected data of that study will prove valuable for planning the next steps in the field of traditional medicine within the Medical Mission.
Meanwhile, in December 2003, in an international competition, the World Bank approved a project jointly submitted by the ACT and the Medical Mission: “Traditional Medicine and Health Care in Suriname”. This approval may be considered an acknowledgment of the initiatives. This project also means that clinics for traditional medicine will be established in Puleowime (a village of the Wajana Amerindians along the Tapanahony River) and in Kajana (a Saramacaner village along the Gran Rio River), workshop will be organized for health care workers, data collected from the traditional clinics and the clinics of the Medical Mission will be analyzed and traditional health care workers will be trained in keeping medical records.