How do you think the event went?
The event was very well-organised. There were representatives from many different groups and levels, including highly acknowledged scientists such as Professor Bhushan Patwardhan (PhD, FNASc, FNAMS), Chairman of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council Executive Committee, Former Vice Chairman of the University Grants Commission, and Chairman of the Indian Council of Social Science Research, author of over 175 scientific publications. Also present were Ministers of Health and Ministers of complementary medicine, Directors of complementary medicine departments from different countries, WHO officers, university professors, doctors practising various complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) methods, healers, shamans and representatives of indigenous communities from every continents, as well as representatives of the People’s Declaration about TCIH from around the world.
The conference allowed people to hear news about the development of complementary medicine politics, the new ICD 11 with a chapter on complementary medicine, and more. We were able to ask questions and share our concerns about the ways in which complementary medicine will be evaluated.
How will the summit help homeopathy & complementary healthcare moving forward?
I hope it will help us to move forward as a member of EUROCAM. EUROCAM represents European Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine and is accredited to the WHO Regional Office of Europe as a non-state actor. EUROCAM also represents the European TCIH movement. The TCIH Declaration calls for respectful collaboration between traditional, complementary and biomedical practices with the aim of achieving a person-centred and holistic approach to health. It is a coalition of over 300 organisations worldwide, founded in 2022, representing practitioners, users, researchers and educators. We can be proud that ECH is an active member of it.
It was an eye-opener for we Europeans to participate and understand that, while more than 100 countries around the world have found ways to integrate and regulate traditional or complementary medical approaches into their healthcare systems, Europe is lagging behind. According to the WHO Global Report on Traditional and complementary medicine 2019, Europe is the region where countries have least embraced WHO recommendations regarding regulation and research in complementary medicine. In 2018, only 21% of European member states had a research institute for traditional and complementary medicine and only 20% had a traditional medicine national policy.
See here the whole article: https://www.univadis.com/viewarticle/should-europe-reconsider-its-approach-traditional-medicine-2023a1000jsd
We can move forward more confidently, enjoying the support and knowledge of our colleagues from around the world.
We have to communicate much better to everyone – policymakers, patients, practitioners – about what homeopathy can do for ONE HEALTH.
The most-repeated slogan by many of the speakers was, “One Earth, One Family, One Future.” Homeopathy can contribute in reducing AMR and making humans, animals, and plants healthier with its eco-friendly remedies.
I personally believe the homeopathic community will benefit from a constructive dialogue with our colleagues practicing other CAM methods. We have to put patients at the centre and discuss how we can combine methods and cooperate to achieve sustainable health for all.
What should the next step be?
We have to strengthen ECH’s position in EUROCAM, and we have to help EUROCAM to strengthen its position as a non-state actor in WHO, representing TCIH in Europe and all TCIH stakeholders. We have many questions to ask at the levels both of WHO and also of Europe.
We have to be united and continue to communicate, carefully following the process to counteract any measures which are not favourable to us.
We have to participate in the decisions about what is evidence-based in allopathic medicine and in TCIM. Complementary medicine incorporates practices proved by millions of patients throughout centuries. They are evidenced, they are based in practice – they cannot be squeezed into allopathic EBM. “After all, what is the definition of evidence in medicine?” – one of the participants asked.
I would like to quote here Shyama Kuruvilla, the leader of the WHO Global Traditional Medicine Centre (Jamnagar, Gujarat, India): “We do have to ask whether our scientific methods are up to the task of understanding the complexities of traditional medicine.” This was published in The Lancet, Vol 402, September 2, 2023.
We have to be active in order to define the best way to connect complementary medicine with science and innovations. This cannot happen mechanically or by AI. We, as holistic practitioners (CAM, TM, IM) know this, and it is our responsibility to be active, to help, and to protect.
Another eye-opener for me personally was the fact that there were representatives from different indigenous communities from all over the world, but not from Europe. Does Europe not have any indigenous communities? Does Europe not have any traditional healing methods worth sharing with the whole world? Who represents these communities? For example, there is a strong movement now in Bulgaria – young people are returning to the villages and growing their own food in an environmentally friendly way. They help to maintain biodiversity as other indigenous communities do. We have to contact them – we have to tell them about homeopathy for animals and agriculture. What about traditional practices in European countries? I am sure there is a huge intellectual complementary medicine heritage in all European countries.
What are your takeaways?
It was very important to be there and to see how people around the world present and protect their traditional healing practices, how they integrate them, and/or how they raise their voice to protect their intellectual properties and their rights to have access to their traditional complementary medicine methods and practitioners.
My takeaways are the words of Professor Bhushan Patwardhan: “Traditional medicine plus contemporary mainstream medicine will create the medicine of the future.”
Moving forward, we have a lot of work to do:
- Protect the European heritage in complementary medicine – homeopathy is one of the heritage
- Support those who protect our European biodiversity
- Develop a patient-centred approach with respect to culture
- As an educator, I received confirmation of how important it is to implement systems thinking in education – at schools and universities. People have to understand what it means for their health, their family’s health, their community’s health, and the health of our Earth to understand the link between their personal health, biodiversity, traditional knowledge, and healing methods.
EUROCAM delegate at the WHO TM Summit
ECH Education SC Coordinator
Some important quotations:
The WHO has also shared the initial findings of the global survey on traditional medicine.
Read more at:
www.thelancet.com Vol 402 September 2, 2023
“We do have to ask whether our scientific methods are up to the task of understanding the complexities of traditional medicine”, conceded Kuruvilla.
Ghod encourages policy-makers to work out the most responsible way to integrate traditional and conventional medicine and to ensure providers are knowledgeable about different treatment options and how they might interact with or complement each other. “Our ultimate aim should be to have a comprehensive healthcare system focused on the patient’s needs and preferences, not proving the superiority of one medical discipline over the other”, she concluded.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-PhsU0jOM4 – 1h 19 min