Medical Doctor - University Cayetano Heredia (Lima). Post-graduate studies in Epidemiology (Ricardo Palma University), in Health Services Management (Ricardo Palma University) and Natural and Alternative Medicine (Fide Institute). Master’s Degree in Public Health, Epidemiology mention (Universidad Nacional de San Martín, Tarapoto).
She began studying and practicing traditional Amazonian medicines in 1986. She stands out for her important activities and contributions in the socio-medical sphere: former coordinator in the Regional Health Forum of San Martin on the working group "Traditional Medicine and Interculturalism", and in the National Health Forum on "Traditional Medicine"; She has been Dean of the Medical College of the San Martin Region; Directs a Private Medical Centre, "Sagrada Familia", in the city of Tarapoto. She defends the importance and urgency to preserve and integrate traditional medicine into the formal health system with a focus on intercultural respect. She is the author of numerous publications, including the first investigations on the treatment of addicts in the Takiwasi Center and the report of sustenance through which Ayahuasca has been declared Cultural Patrimony of the Nation by the Ministry of Culture of Peru. She has participated in several national and international congresses.
The encounter with traditional Amazonian medicine
In the city of Tarapoto, in the Peruvian Amazon, some 40 years ago the medical surgeon Rosa Giove discovered that traditional Amazonian medicine is still a valid and effective healing tool. This discovery pushed her to dedicate her work to finding points of contact between modern and traditional medicine, to enrich the standard medical practice. Rosa acknowledges that she continues to learn, especially from the women who are the main source of oral transmission of ancestral knowledge. She shares her time between her private clinical practice, where most of the patients are women, and her therapeutic and research activities at Takiwasi, a rehabilitation center led by her and her husband Jacques Mabit.
Traditional medicine considers the human being in its spiritual aspect, while the official medical system is often ashamed to talk about spirituality, it is anthropocentric and to be able to get to the disease you have to basically dissect the person, compartmentalizing it to separate everything. These are actually two systems that aim at the same thing: the health of people; but one is a hegemonic system that has a preponderance, which is the official one, and the other one is the traditional system that many people use as the first step in their healing process. In the case of Peru, due to socioeconomic conditions, for many people the latter is the only way to heal.
When we consider traditional Amazonian medicine, we are not talking only about plants or healing resources, but also about the underlying procedures and knowledge. In addition, there is another aspect to be taken into account which is healing from diseases that are not only physical but emotional and/or spiritual, being the latter field the one where we find the greatest divergence with modern medicine that does not consider this aspect. It also fits into the worldview and the way of thinking of traditional cultures, for which a disease is a state where the harmony of a living being with its environment is broken.
The effort to recognize ancestral knowledge in the public health system
Rosa Giove tries to articulate traditional medicine with modern medicine to the extent that the patient's clinical condition allows it. Rosa has participated in the Medical College of Peru, where the Committee of Traditional and Alternative Medicine has been formed. Under the auspices of this College, in October 2006, the First Amazonian Macroregional Medical Meeting was held in Iquitos, one of the main axes being that of Amazonian Ethnomedicine and Public Health. Rosa participates as well in ForoSalud, a national social movement that promotes the meeting and discussion on health issues, recommending health and social surveillance policies from civil society.
In Takiwasi, Rosa is in charge of the biomedical monitoring of patients, providing psychotherapeutic workshops like masks and tales and family constellations, among others, as well as accompaniment during ayahuasca ceremonies. Through her experience with ayahuasca and master plants, Rosa Giove could receive from the same plants some of the most recognized ikaros of the Peruvian Amazon, including the famous ikaro Ábrete Corazón. Dr. Giove is also the author of numerous publications, including the report submitted for the declaration of Ayahuasca as Cultural Heritage of the Peruvian Nation, which has been published as a book under the title "Ritual del Ayahuasca".
Rosa Giove wants to contribute to strengthening the spaces of exchange and research on traditional medicine and, above all, to demonstrate that the articulation of both medical systems, the official or modern one and the traditional one, is not a utopia but a fundamental need. Therefore, participation in spaces for discussion and proposal, forming networks of people and institutions with the same interest at national and international level, are all actions that are part of this important task.
Main publications, interviews and conferences
- Ritual del Ayahuasca. Patrimonio cultural de la nación - Ministerio de Cultura de Perú, 2016.
- La liana de los muertos al rescate de la vida - Ediciones Takiwasi, 2001.
- Takiwasi: the use of Amazonian shamanism to rehabilitate drug addicts - Published in “Yearbook of Cross-Cultural Medicine and Psychotherapy”, International Institute of Cross-Cultural Therapy Research, 1996.
- Sinchi, Sinchi, Negrito: medicinal use of Tobacco in the Upper Peruvian Amazon - In press, Fundación Desde América, Buenos-Aires, Argentina.
- The 'Icaro' or Shamanic song - Revista Takiwasi Nº 2, 1993.
- Interview with Rosa Giove about the ikaros or healing songs - Takiwasi Center, 2020.
- The Ikaro or healing song - Conference, Takiwasi Center, 2017.