As defined in the survey form and based on the WHO publication WHO traditional medicine strategy 2002 2005 (2), the concept of a national policy on TM/CAM involves some of the following key elements: a definition of TM/CAM, provision for the creation of laws and regulations, and consideration of intellectual property issues. National policy also can reflect the main strategies proposed by the government for achieving the objectives of the policy. National policy may include laws and regulations on TM/CAM in the same document.
In the survey form, Member States were asked the following question: “Is there a national policy on TM/CAM?” and were given the choice yes/no. If responding yes, Member States were further asked for the year of issue of the national policy. If responding no, they were asked if such a policy is in the process of being established.
The survey results from the 141 Member States responding to the Global Survey demonstrate that 32% (45) of these have issued national policies on TM/CAM (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. National policy on TM/CAM
Furthermore, of those Member States that do not currently have a national policy on TM/CAM, a significant percentage (56%, 51 countries) have indicated that such policies are in the process of development.
Of those countries with national policies, 44 provided the year in which the policy was issued. The number of Member States with national policies on TM/CAM has increased significantly overall in the last decade. It is also apparent that a majority of Member States that responded (59%, 27 States) have issued such policies since 1996. It implies a growing trend in the recent past for Member States to establish national policies on TM/CAM. This trend will continue since, as noted above, 51 countries are currently developing their national policy on TM/CAM (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Number of Member States with national policies on TM/CAM, by year
Finally, Map 2 indicates those countries with national policies on TM/CAM, and those countries indicating that such policies are in the process of development.