The Government will continue to promote Chinese medicine development in Hong Kong by formulating long-term strategies, harmonising Chinese medicine standards, carrying out knowledge exchange with other countries and enhancing co-operation with the Mainland.
The Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, made the above remarks at the World Health Organization (WHO)'s "High Level Meeting on the Implementation of WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy: 2014-2023" in Macau today (October 28), outlining the Government's efforts in developing Chinese medicine and sharing experience in formulating relevant policies.
The WHO first launched a traditional medicine strategy in 2002, providing a clear direction for member states' work in traditional medicine. Today, an updated strategy titled "WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy: 2014-2023" was officially launched by the Director-General of WHO, Dr Margaret Chan, in Macau.
Hong Kong actively participated in the consultation and drafting of the updated strategy. Since mid-2012 the Chinese Medicine Division of the Department of Health, in the capacity of WHO's Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine, has organised three working group meetings in Hong Kong to work on the new strategy.
Dr Ko said the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy is a valuable tool for healthcare providers, health service planners, policy makers, academics and other stakeholders worldwide to better understand and address the issues of regulation, integration and evaluation to harness the potential of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM), adding that the Government's policy towards T&CM regulation and development is in line with the three strategic objectives set out in the Strategy document.
"Firstly, we emphasise an 'evidence-based' approach in T&CM practice," he said.
Dr Ko stressed that such an approach is adopted in research and identification of safe traditional medicines and modalities, which can help the Government better form a sensible and effective regulatory regime, better realise the full potential of Chinese medicine and better integrate it into the mainstream health system.
"Secondly, we promote the standardisation of Chinese medicines and the harmonisation of such standards across different countries in a bid to improve the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines. To date, the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards project has developed standards for about 200 Chinese herbal medicines.
"Another objective laid down in the WHO's strategy is to facilitate the integration of T&CM into our existing healthcare system. Given that our current public healthcare systems are conventionally based in Western medicine, the development of integrative care appears to be feasible as well as essential to facilitate the incorporation of T&CM into the existing systems," Dr Ko said.
Despite challenges arising in the interface between Western and Chinese medical practices, Dr Ko believed that with further studies and discussions, Hong Kong can come up with a collaboration model so that the two medical streams can work together to provide quality, individualised medical treatment for patients.
"We established the Chinese Medicine Development Committee in February this year, which will deliberate on a wide spectrum of issues, such as the establishment of a Chinese medicine hospital, development of specialties in Chinese medicine practice, promotion of collaboration between Western and Chinese medicine, and come up with recommendations for the Government's consideration," Dr Ko added.
Ends/Monday, October 28, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:12