News & Features

29 May, 2018

What the World Health Organisation really thinks of natural medicine


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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has long supported natural medicine, but The Beijing Declaration explains exactly how they want their Member States to look at complementary healthcare.

On November 8, 2008 the WHO adopted The Beijing Declaration to promote the safe and effective use of traditional medicine (i.e. natural medicine and therapies).

This includes taking key steps to integrate natural medicines and therapies into national healthcare systems.

For member states (including Australia, America, and the United Kingdom) to follow the declaration, they must:

Promote and respect natural therapies

“The knowledge of traditional medicine, treatments and practices should be respected, preserved, promoted and communicated widely and appropriately based on the circumstances in each country.”

Create policies to support safe use of natural medicine

“Governments have a responsibility for the health of their people and should formulate national policies, regulations and standards, as part of comprehensive national health systems to ensure appropriate, safe and effective use of traditional medicine.”

Call on governments to integrate natural healthcare

“Recognising the progress of many governments to date in integrating traditional medicine into their national health systems, we call on those who have not yet done so to take action.”

Contribute to natural health research and innovation

Traditional medicine should be further developed based on research and innovation, using the WHO’s public health plan of action, which includes:

  1. Prioritising research and development needs
  2. Promoting research and development
  3. Building and improving innovative capacity
  4. Increasing the transfer of technology
  5. Application and management of intellectual property to contribute to innovation and promote public health
  6. Improving delivery and access
  7. Promoting sustainability
  8. Establishing and monitoring reporting systems.

Establish quality licensing for practitioners

“Governments should establish systems for the qualification, accreditation or licensing of traditional medicine practitioners. Traditional medicine practitioners should upgrade their knowledge and skills based on national requirements.”

Seek to see natural healthcare used in tandem with modern medicine

“The communication between conventional and traditional medicine providers should be strengthened and appropriate training programmes be established for health professionals, medical students and relevant researchers.”

Do you think Australia is fulfilling it’s duty as a Member State?

Read the full declaration for WHO here.


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