The World Health Organization (WHO) today (May 9) designated the Chinese Medicine Division (CMD) of the Department of Health (DH) as the Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine (CCTM) in Hong Kong. It is the first of its kind in the world as the Centre will focus on assisting the WHO to formulate policies and strategies as well as setting regulatory standards for traditional medicine.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by about 200 international experts from eight regions and countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, the Mainland and the United States, as well as local experts.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, said that there was a clear trend of increasing demand for Chinese medicine services from the public, and the Government has been actively incorporating Chinese medicine services into the public healthcare system including the setting up of 16 Chinese medicine clinics in the territory and the provision of Chinese and Western medicine shared care services in some 20 public hospitals.
"Traditional medicine is no doubt a precious resource which has much to offer in complementing conventional medicine. Within the context of primary care, the two systems can blend together in beneficial harmony, using the best features of each and compensating for each other's weakness. This, however, requires deliberate policy decisions and the co-operation of countries in formulating and implementing a relevant framework," Dr Chow said.
He expressed his deepest gratitude to the WHO's leadership in co-ordinating efforts of member countries and regions in formulating traditional medicine policies and strategies, adding that Hong Kong would continue to support the WHO's initiatives in traditional medicines and assume an effective bridging role among countries to facilitate better co-operation and co-ordination with the WHO in promoting the development of traditional medicine in the international arena.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Health, Dr P Y Lam, said, "The CMD of the DH is honoured to be designated as one of the WHO's CCTMs. This signifies the WHO's recognition of our contribution in promoting and developing traditional medicine.
"Today is a memorable day. Being the WHO's Collaborating Centre would mean more responsibilities to shoulder. The DH would spare no effort to work with the WHO to take forward traditional medicine developments into a new era."
This year also marks the 15th anniversary of the CMD, a designated division tasked with regulation, promotion and development of safety, quality and efficacy in the use and practice of Chinese medicine.
"Throughout the past 15 years, the multidisciplinary, dedicated professional teams in the CMD have been committed to promoting and developing evidence-based Chinese medicine in the international arena. We have established extensive networks with local, regional and international experts, undertook the organisation of various WHO meetings, implemented the provisions of our Chinese Medicine Ordinance for which many countries took reference, and step by step enriched our experience and expertise in Chinese medicine," Dr Lam remarked.
"Acting as a hub for knowledge and information exchange in the Western Pacific region, our CCTM is an ideal breeding ground to train up professionals in the field," he added.
The ceremony was closely followed by a three-day meeting of global experts to develop the next WHO traditional medicine strategy. The new global strategy will take into account various countries' progress and current new challenges in the field with an ultimate goal of supporting Member States in integrating traditional medicine into their respective national health systems.
The meeting, chaired by Dr Lam, was organised by the WHO and supported by the DH.
Ends/Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:42