WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy: 2002-2005
(2002; 70 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentAcronyms, abbreviations and WHO Regions
Close this folderKey points: WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002 - 2005
View the documentWhat is traditional medicine?
View the documentWidespread and growing use
View the documentWhy such broad use?
View the documentUncritical enthusiasm versus uninformed scepticism
View the documentChallenges in developing TM/CAM potential
View the documentThe current role of WHO
View the documentFramework for action
View the documentStrategy implementation
Open this folder and view contentsChapter One: Global review
Open this folder and view contentsChapter Two: Challenges
Open this folder and view contentsChapter Three: The current role of WHO
Open this folder and view contentsChapter Four: International and national resources for traditional medicine
Open this folder and view contentsChapter Five: Strategy and plan of action 2002 - 2005
View the documentAnnex One: List of WHO Collaborating Centres for Traditional Medicine
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex Two: Selected WHO publications and documents on traditional medicine
View the documentReferences
View the documentBack Cover

Uncritical enthusiasm versus uninformed scepticism

Many TM/CAM providers seek continued - or increased - recognition and support for their field. At the same time many allopathic medicine professionals, even those in countries with a strong history of TM, express strong reservations and often frank disbelief about the purported benefits of TM/CAM. Regulators wrestle with questions of safety and efficacy of traditional herbal medicines, while many industry groups and consumers resist any health policy developments that could limit access to TM/CAM therapies. Reports of powerful immunostimulant effects for some traditional medicines raise hope among HIV-infected individuals, but others worry that the use of such "cures" will mislead people living with HIV/AIDS and delay treatment with "proven" therapies.

So together with growing use of TM/CAM, demand has grown for evidence on the safety, efficacy and quality of TM/CAM products and practices. Interestingly, much of the scientific literature for TM/CAM uses methodologies comparable to those used to support many modern surgical procedures: individual case reports and patient series, with no control or even comparison group.

Nevertheless, scientific evidence from randomized clinical trials is strong for many uses of acupuncture, for some herbal medicines, and for some of the manual therapies.

In general, however, increased use of TM/CAM has not been accompanied by an increase in the quantity, quality and accessibility of clinical evidence to support TM/CAM claims.

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