WHO discusses safe and effective use of traditional medicine
MANILA, 13 October 2011—Countries in the Western Pacific Region today endorsed the World Health Organization's Regional Strategy for Traditional Medicine (2011-2020).
The strategy, the result of an extensive consultation process since 2009, provides guidance for Member States, WHO, development partners and other stakeholders on how to maximize the potential of traditional medicine as a part of national health systems.
The Region has a rich history of traditional medicine, with many different forms practised across the region. Millions of people visit traditional doctors, healers and use traditional medicine.
However, there is limited coordination between traditional medicine and the ‘Western’ health system. Poor regulatory standards for practice and products; questions over the safety and efficacy of some remedies and practices; and inadequate financial and human resources also need to be addressed if traditional medicine is to effectively contribute to improving health in the region.
This strategy calls on countries to address these challenges, recognizing that each country needs to take its own approach based on existing legislation and circumstances.
The Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, WHO's governing body in the Region, noted the importance of the principle of evidence-based traditional medicine and need for contained assessment of advances in knowledge and technology.
Dr Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific, said the Regional Strategy on Traditional Medicine gives increased emphasis to the values of primary health care and universal access to health services and the contribution that traditional medicine can make. He stressed the importance of cooperation and sharing information to support the quality, safety and efficacy of traditional medicine.
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