Traditional Medicine

         The Regional Committee,

         Having considered the draft regional strategy for traditional medicine; *

         Acknowledging that traditional medicine is widely used in most countries in the Region and that there has been a significant growth in interest in traditional medicine in recent years;

         Acknowledging further the different forms of traditional medicine practised in the Region and the varying levels of development of traditional medicine and differences in national health care systems in Member States;

         Noting the contribution that traditional medicine has made to the people of the Region for many centuries and its actual or potential role in improving health and health services in the Region;

         Noting further that many Member States have taken action to support the appropriate use of traditional medicine in their health systems;

         Recognizing that knowledge of traditional medicine is part of the heritage of communities where that knowledge originated, and that this should be respected and appropriately protected;

         Recognizing further the need to conserve the natural resources on which traditional medicine is based;

         Recognizing further that scientific research will advance our knowledge of the safety and efficacy of traditional medicine and that the results of such research will help to appropriately integrate traditional medicine into mainstream health systems;

         Acknowledging the active role played by WHO in promoting the proper use of traditional medicine in the Region;

         Acknowledging further the progress that has been achieved in the areas of regulation, national policy development, training, research, and standardization of traditional medicine in the Region;

  1. ENDORSES the regional strategy for traditional medicine in the Western Pacific, taking into account the views of Member States as noted in the summary record;
  2. URGES Member States:
    (1) to use, where appropriate, the regional strategy for traditional medicine as a framework for the development of national traditional medicine programmes;
    (2) to strengthen the evidence base for the practice of traditional medicine, particularly with regard to its safety and efficacy;
    (3) to survey traditional medicine practices in use and to develop or strengthen policies and programmes to promote the appropriate use of traditional medicine;
    (4) to explore the potential for the integration of validated traditional remedies and therapies into mainstream health systems;
    (5) to encourage and facilitate dialogue and cooperation among practitioners of traditional and modern medicine;
    (6) to establish or strengthen partnerships with other Member States and related organizations, particularly in the areas of information dissemination, research, regulatory standards, intellectual property and the loss of biodiversity;
  3. REQUESTS the Regional Director:
    (1) to support Member States in the implementation of the regional strategy for traditional medicine and in capacity-building, including research and training, as appropriate;
    (2) to facilitate regional and global efforts to scientifically evaluate, standardize and regulate traditional medicine;
    (3) to involve the relevant international agencies in order to facilitate Member States’ discussion of intellectual property aspects of traditional medicine;
    (4) to forward to the Director-General the summary record of the Regional Committee’s discussion on traditional medicine and the Regional Committee's proposal that consideration be given to including traditional medicine on the agendas of the 109th session of the Executive Board and the Fifty-fifth World Health Assembly in 2002;
    (5) to report to the Regional Committee, during its fifty-seventh session in 2006, on progress made in implementing the regional strategy for traditional medicine.

* WPR/RC52/7

13 September 2001

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