WHO Attempts Classification of Traditional Medicine

  • Date: December 14, 2010
  • Source: Admin
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The need for classification of traditional medicine

The use of herbal medicines, acupuncture, and other traditional medicine practices, popular in Western Pacific, South-East Asia, Africa and Latin America is now spreading to the rest of the world. This necessitates classification and terminology tools for traditional medicine at a global level. Though several countries have created national standards for the classification of traditional medicine, an international platform that allows the assimilation of data for clinical, epidemiological and statistical use is lacking. It is essential that this information is available to clinicians, researchers and policy-makers, so they can comprehensively monitor safety, efficacy, use, spending and trends in health care.

The International Classification of Traditional Medicine (ICTM), a project initiated by WHO is dedicated to creating an evidence base for traditional medicine, producing terminologies and classifications for diagnoses and interventions. The classification will have an interactive web-based platform to allow users from all countries to document the terms and concepts used in traditional medicine. The classification will initially focus on the more prevalent traditional medicine practices from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. These countries have well-documented traditional health practices, while in other countries, traditional cures are restricted to small and sometimes isolated indigenous groups.

ICTM will join the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and other WHO standards used to compare health care practices across disciplines and borders. Researchers have used ICD to gather information on the efficacy of modern medicines. WHO hopes to complete the ICTM in time for its adoption at the May 2014 World Health General Assembly.




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