Traditional Medicine Development and Branding: Success Stories

On July 3, 2023, the Pilot Project on IP for Traditional Medicine Practitioners (TMPs) in Ethiopia, which was launched in 2021 by the Division for Least Developed Countries (DLDC) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in cooperation with the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Authority (EIPA) and the University of Gondar (UoG) as well as diverse local traditional medicine associations, successfully concluded with the End of Project Workshop which took place in Adama with the total of 84 mentored TMPs who benefitted from various IP-related trainings. 

All 84 TMPs identified from 9 regions in Ethiopia, were clustered in 7 groups (please see table below) and followed the mentorship program on using the IP system for branding, product development and commercialization. 

GroupName of the Regions in EthiopiaLocationNumber of TMPs
1The Amhara Regional StateNorth16
2Addis Ababa City AdministrationCentral14
3Dire-Dawa City AdministrationEast  10
Harar Regional State5
4Benshangul Regional StateWest5
5Southern Nations and Nationalities RegionSouth5
South Western Regional StateSouth Western4
6Sidama Regional StateSouth10
7The Oromia Regional StateCentral15
                                                                                                            TOTAL TMPs84

The mentorship program on the use of IP consisted of the following stages:

  • Design and draft individual work plans/strategies for each TMP in using the trademark for branding their product.
  • Organization of empowerment trainings on advanced skills for branding and product development.
  • Trademark preliminary search and application filed with EIPA for 84 mentored TMPs.
  • To lobby the relevant private/public sectors to support the commercialization of Products of TMPs.

The Project enabled the registration of 84 trademark certificates at EIPA among which 4 are collective marks filled by traditional medicine associations. The scope of the traditional medicine products provided by TMPs are various and cover the following treatment areas:  some types of cancer, hemorrhoid, skin problems, alopecia, dandruff, liver disease, kidney problems, snake bite, malaria, cosmetics, and sexual dysfunction.

The ultimate goal of this project is to establish a virtual “Model Traditional Medicine Pharmacy” for products branded through the project.  DLDC in collaboration with national stakeholders in Ethiopia has contributed to strengthening the skills and capacity of TMPs on IP-related issues.  

Mr. Tewodros Tessema, IP Expert and Lecturer, School of Pharmacy, UoG, the mentor of the project developed an online platform Shega Hasab ( which is currently hosted by the UoG, enabling all traditional medicine users from Ethiopia to benefit from a free consultation given by all TMPs involved in this project.  TMPs can also sell their traditional cosmetic products through this platform.  This is an amazing achievement to give visibility to the important contribution of the work from TMPs in Ethiopia.  The University of Gondar is closely working with the TMPs to fully exploit the benefits of the platform.  Based on their feedback, TMPs are making better profits with their trademarks.  This project has amplified their business opportunities through the possibility of giving online consultations and arranging online appointments for their patients.  The project has also enabled TMPs to adapt their business model to the new technologies.

Despite the lack of trust in the benefit of IP for TMPs, this project was an eye-opener to many of them leading to a positive mindset change.  With this last event, all 84 TMPs and relevant stakeholders will become the new ambassadors of IP in the country to strengthen social, cultural, and economic growth. 

As a result, this project has positively strengthened South-South Cooperation in the area of traditional medicine in LDCs. This has also contributed to the 17 UN SDGs more effectively and efficiently.

a video has been produced to showcase two success stories:  Mr. Getachew Dimtse dealing with alopecia (BERAMED®); and Mrs. Mulu Almaw dealing with warts (MULU HEMOROVIN®). 

Find out more about other TMPs’ Success Stories emanating from this Project:

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