World Health Org Studies Traditional/Complementary Therapies

WHO launches global plan for traditional and complementary medicine

WHO has undertaken "an ambitious re-focusing of efforts" by launching a global strategy for complementary medicine. This initiative is a response to growing concerns among patients and practitioners over the safety, efficacy, and effect of traditional and alternative medical approaches, according to "integrative oncologist" Keith Block, Editor-in-Chief of Integrative Cancer Therapies.

Discussing the new strategy, WHO spokesperson Daniela Bagozzi explains that WHO will continue to investigate the potential of traditional and complementary treatments for many conditions, including cancer, although key priorities remain diseases that notably affect developing countries, such as HIV and AIDS and other infections.

Block believes that developing countries will benefit from the WHO initiative through knowledge dissemination and further formulation of national policy, although he also commends the emphasis on cultivation rather than harvesting of materials.

"The WHO strategy is likely to benefit the developed world as well because of the promotion of studies of the efficacy and quality of herbs and other traditional medicine techniques," he says.

Bagozzi points out that "a large part of the WHO strategy aims to boost research into use of traditional and complementary medicine, its effectiveness, quality, and safety".

[07/09/2002; Lancet Oncology]

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