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European Coalition on Homeopathic & Anthroposophic Medicinal Products

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World Health Organisation - new report on traditional and complementary medicine

05 Jun 2019

A new report from World Health Organisation, the ‘Global Report on Traditional and Complementary Medicine 2019’, charts the growth of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) over the past twenty years, with an up-to-date and comprehensive review of policy, regulation, products, practices and practitioners of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) across six WHO regions and 179 Member States.

88% of all WHO Member States acknowledge the use of T&CM and the number officially engaging with this type of medicine is increasing, as they look to harness its potential contribution to health and well-being. 50% of countries have a national policy on T&CM, up from only 13% in 1999, with 55% of all Member States having a national office for T&CM and nearly 40% a national research institute. Notably, the European region lags behind other continents with only 11 countries having developed a national policy for T&CM.

Homeopathy is used in 100 countries around the world, making it the third most popular specific complementary medicine after acupuncture and herbal medicine.

In his foreword to the report, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, argues that T&CM is an often underestimated health resource with many applications, especially in the prevention and management of lifestyle-related chronic diseases, and in meeting the health needs of ageing populations at a time when consumer expectations for care are rising, costs are soaring, and most budgets are either stagnant or being reduced. He concludes that countries  aiming  to  integrate  the  best  of  T&CM  and  conventional  medicine  would  do  well  to  look  not  only  at  the  many  differences  between  the  two  systems,  but  also  at  areas  where  both  converge  to  help  tackle the unique health challenges of the 21st century. The report recommends that traditional medicine become an option offered by a well-functioning, people-centred health system that balances curative services with preventive care.