Countries Agree to Increasing Role of Traditional Medicine Through 'Beijing Declaration'

2008-11-10 14:55 730

BEIJING, Nov. 10 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- The World Health Organization (WHO) congratulates Member States on the "Beijing Declaration," adopted on Saturday by participants at the first ever WHO Congress on Traditional Medicine, which was attended by experts from over 70 countries. The declaration will serve to promote the safe and effective use of traditional medicine and to integrate traditional medicine into national health care systems.

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"The integration of traditional medicine into countries' health systems is one of the best ways to assure its appropriate and proper use by people and providers," said Dr Carissa Etienne, WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Services. "This is a landmark declaration, after a landmark Congress."

Traditional medicine has been used for primary health care in many developing countries and is now increasingly used in developed countries as well. But regulation and oversight have not necessarily kept pace with the growth in interest in traditional practices and products.

"Both modern and traditional medicine have their advantages and weakness for health care," said Dr Zhang Xiaorui, one of the organizers of the Congress and Coordinator of Traditional Medicines at WHO's Department of Essential Medicines and Pharmaceutical Policies. "If national health care systems can include the advantages of both systems, it would benefit both patients and consumers."

The Beijing Declaration was the result of the WHO Congress on Traditional Medicine, held 7-9 November 2008, in Beijing, People's Republic of China. It was hosted by the Government of the People's Republic of China through the Ministry of Health and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine in cooperation with nongovernmental organizations in official relations with WHO.

A total of over 1100 participants from over 70 countries attended the Congress, as well as representatives from WHO Collaborating Centres for Traditional Medicine from all over the world.

Source: World Health Organization