TAKEN FROM ECH NEWSLETTER 6TH OCTOBER 2023
ECH members Dora Pachova, Elio Rossi and Cristal Skaling-Klopstock recently attended the WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023: Towards health and well-being for all, held in Gujarat, India. We are grateful to Council Members Dora and Cristal for sharing their thoughts with us. They’ll be attending our ECH meeting in Vienna, where I’m sure they’ll be happy to speak to any members who wish to learn more about the Summit.
This event marked a significant milestone for WHO, showcasing their dedication to integrating traditional medicine – including homeopathy – into primary healthcare. There is a significant organisational and cultural shift to move WHO's historical position to where it states it wants to be. Every journey begins with one step and this Summit was a giant step for WHO.
How will the Summit help homeopathy and CAM healthcare to move forward?
We can move forward more confidently, enjoying the support and knowledge of our colleagues from all over the world.
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. Initial findings from a WHO survey confirm that 97 of the 157 WHO member states have a national policy on traditional medicine. However, 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 –
We have to communicate much better with everyone – policymakers, patients, practitioners – about what homeopathy can do for One Health. The slogan most-often repeated by many of the speakers was: One Earth, One Family, One Future. Our homeopathic community can benefit from a constructive dialogue with our colleagues practising 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 be the next steps?
We have to participate in decisions about what is evidence-based in allopathic medicine and in TCIM. Complementary medicine incorporates practices proved by millions of patients over the centuries. They are evidenced, they are based in practice – they cannot simply be squeezed into allopathic EBM. It is our responsibility as holistic medical practitioners to actively define the best way to connect complementary medicine with science and with other innovations.
An eye-opener was that there were representatives from different indigenous communities from all over the world, except Europe. Doesn’t Europe have any indigenous communities? Doesn’t Europe have any traditional healing methods worth sharing with the whole world?
What have you taken away from the Summit?
Traditional medicine plus contemporary mainstream medicine will create the medicine of the future. (Prof Bhushan Patwardhan)
Going forward, we need to engage with and make WHO accountable for their new commitment by helping them find those next big steps. For us, the next critical areas include:
- Establishing evidence standards applicable to traditional medicine, balancing risk and outcomes effectively.
- Breaking down the artificial barriers separating traditional medicine from conventional healthcare.
- And, most importantly, engaging patients in the decision-making process about how they want and need to manage their health.
- There is much to applaud about this first Summit and it is up to all of us to hold WHO accountable to its commitment, but it is also important to engage with WHO where we can to help them meet that commitment.
- 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. Participants were assured that the Government of India acknowledges the Gujurat Declaration, summarising the findings of the Summit, and will ensure full cooperation with WHO. Read the Declaration here –