12 December 2019 (online)
WHO Releases Global Report on Traditional and Complementary Medicine 2019
The WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014 -2023 was developed with the objective to promote UHC by integrating traditional and complementary medicine service into health care service delivery and self-health care. The report was released on May 2019 to support 179 member states in implementing action plans that will strengthen the role traditional medicine can play to keep the populations healthy. The strategy pays more attention to prioritizing health services and systems including traditional and complementary medicine products, practices and practitioners.
With the advent of antibiotics the loss of life from acute infectious diseases was minimized. The resultant rise in life expectancy shifted the attention to life style related chronic diseases which are unique health challenges. In the foreword to the report WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says Traditional and Complementary Medicine is an important and under estimated health resource with many applications especially in the prevention and management of Life style diseases.
Dr. Tedros further mentions that the countries aiming to integrate conventional and Traditional and complementary medicine services into their health systems for achieving universal health coverage and sustainable development goals, could offer a well-functioning people-centered health system to meet the health needs of their aging populations.
The report shows that the member states are recognizing the role of traditional and complementary medicine in their national health systems. According to the report, by 2018, 98 member states had developed national policies on traditional and complementary medicine, 109 had launched national laws or regulations on traditional and complementary medicine and 124 had implemented regulations on herbal medicines.
However, UK along with whole of WHO European region is lagging behind on indicators such as national policies, programmes and traditional and complementary medicine research institutes.