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News Article

Traditional Medicine Should be Part of Health Systems: WHO

By Sofía Garduño | Tue, 03/29/2022 - 12:56

The World Health Organization (WHO) will establish a Global Center for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in India. The alliance between WHO and the government of India aims to boost health knowledge through modern technology. Currently, 80 percent of the population around the world relies on traditional medicine.

 

“For many millions of people around the world, traditional medicine is the first port of call to treat many diseases,” said Tedros Adhanom, Director, WHO.

 

The initiative will be a meeting point between traditional medicine and modern science. Despite being located in India, the GCTM aims to have a global reach and support international research. To make this project possible, India’s government will invest US$250 million. “I am grateful to the Government of India for its support, and we look forward to making it a success,” added Adhanom.

 

Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine (T&CM) is an important part of health care, as reported by WHO. Since 2018, 170 WHO Member States have acknowledged they use T&CM. In countries where traditional medicine is a primary source of health, T&CM has cultural and historical influences. Its popularity is also attributed to the availability of traditional practitioners and products compared to conventional medicine-based health services.

 

In Africa, for example, there is one traditional healer for every 500 individuals while there is one traditionally-trained doctor for every 40,000. In Africa, T&CM is used for common illnesses and sanitary emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. “Nigeria’s listing of 14 herbal medicinal products by NAFDAC against COVID-19 and ongoing clinical trials on them, is in line with the Regional Expert Committee on COVID-19 aim of elevating the standards of clinical trials of traditional medicine for COVID-19,” said Kofi Boateng, Representative, WHO.

 

To support Member States in the implementation of T&CM regulations, the organization is promoting the Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023. WHO invites countries to build knowledge and formulate national policies, strengthen regulations and promote the incorporation of T&CM in national health systems.

 

In Mexico, T&CM operates under a legal framework. Mexico’s Health General Law states that it is the responsibility of the state to promote and guarantee the respectful use and practices of traditional medicine. Likewise, the Ministry of Health Internal Regulation forces the General Direction of Health’s Planning and Development (DGPLADES) to address the integration of traditional medicine in the health system to promote cultural plurality in health assistance. Also, the country’s Regulation on Health Supplies determines the definition, registration, manufacturing and distribution of allopathic, homeopathic and herbal remedies.

 

The Ministry of Health’s Interculturality in Health book reported that Mexico needs to boost medical research so consumers’ needs are properly addressed. It also suggests inviting professionals to get involved in T&CM scientific careers and the inclusion of courses that involve its principles in nursing and medicine majors.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
WHO, DOF, Ministry of Health, DGPLADES
Photo by:   Pixabay, ka_re
Sofía Garduño Sofía Garduño Journalist & Industry Analyst