The following is a speech by the Secretary for Health and Welfare, Dr E K Yeoh,at the Opening Ceremony of World Health Organization Conference on Consultation on Methodologies for Research & Evaluation of Traditional Medicine today (April 10):
Professor Zhu, Dr Zhang, the Hon. Henry Tang,
ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here today at the Opening Ceremony of the "WHO Consultation on Methodologies for Research and Evaluation of Traditional Medicine". I am happy to see that experts in traditional medicines from all over the world gather here to exchange views on this very important subject. I must congratulate the World Health Organization for playing a leading role in promoting the development of traditional medicine.
Traditional medicine has become increasingly popular in the world. Individuals from all walks of life consult traditional medicine practitioners, use herbal medicines for disease treatment and for health maintenance. At the same time, they also look for quality medicinal products and services. This WHO meeting is expected to produce a set of guidelines for evaluation of traditional medicine, which in turn will facilitate the development of relevant standards in the future.
I am very glad that Hong Kong can contribute to this process by hosting this important WHO Meeting. In Hong Kong, development of traditional Chinese medicine is one of the Government's priorities. We have taken a big step forward by introducing a statutory framework for the regulation of Chinese medicine. The Chinese Medicine Ordinance was passed in July 1999. Under the Ordinance, a regulatory system for Chinese medicine practitioners will be set up this summer to ensure their standard of practice. A licensing system, and a registration system to regulate the manufacture and trading of Chinese medicines will be set up in phases later this year. The regulatory framework provided under the Chinese Medicine Ordinance will contribute to a systematic, healthy and focused development of traditional Chinese medicine in Hong Kong and facilitate Hong Kong becoming a renowned centre for Chinese medicines.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your efforts in the field of traditional medicine. I wish you all a successful and fruitful meeting, and for the overseas visitors, a pleasant and enjoyable stay in Hong Kong. Thank you.
END/Monday, April 10, 2000