Pakistan Government Challenges Acupuncturists to Set Regulations for Legalization

Photo of Saira Afzal Tarar According to this recent article, Pakistan’s Minister for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar told attendees of a January 25, 2015 conference, ACU-CAM 2015, that the government is going to establish a Federal Health Commission to legalize acupuncture and some other natural modes of treatment. To do so puts a challenge to the country’s acupuncturists:  “The acupuncturists should give a programme to convince the health authorities to introduce this mode of treatment in hospitals of Punjab.” Suggested was “an institution on the lines of College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan (CPSP) for proper recognition of their qualifications and degrees.” The regulation is paired with a separate initiative to said to seeks to “eradicate quacks” from the country. The article states there are already 25,000 acupuncturists practicing in Pakistan. The conference was organized by the by Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Memorial Society together with the Iffat Anwar School of Acupuncture and Complementary Medicine.

Comment:  Interesting associations for the birth of acupuncture. The memorial society is addressing injustice and imbalance in society and health minister Tarar is a ”conservative and feminist.” The proposed regulation will align with recommendations of the World Health Organization’s 2014-2023 strategic plan for traditional medicine.  The stated number of presently illegal but already practicing acupuncturists seems high given its present illegality. For reference, there are approximately 30,000 licensed in the United States where regulation dates back nearly a half-century. Notable among the faculty is Shahzad Anwar, MD who gained a specialization in pain medicine from Harvard University and medical acupuncture in China.

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