Quick Links to Global News in Traditional, Alternative, and Integrative Health and Medicine for January 2015

This monthly Global Integrator features highlights on developments in traditional medicine and alternative and integrative health during a 1-month period. Here are 32 selections from India, Gambia, Vietnam, indigenous Canada, South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and elsewhere for the month of January 2015.

  • A professor speaking to the Nigerian Academy of Sciences makes the case for why Nigeria must develop medicine from natural sources.
  • A 400-year-old Xuan Duong Clinic run by a 16th-generation Vietnamese healer who mixes Western and traditional medicine is the subject of this feature: “Treating diseases and saving patients by combining Western and traditional Vietnamese medicine while honoring the traditional art of healing is the motto.”
  • In late-January meetings with Nguyen Hoang Son, deputy director of the Traditional Medicine Administration in Vietnam, traditional healers signed an oath to not use rhino horn medicinally.
  • Leading British herbal agencies are now among the 140 organizations and businesses endorsing the Botanical Adulterants Program led by 3 US not-for-profit entities.
  • In South Africa, the Herbal Drugs Research Unit at Tshwane University of Technology will begin looking into the healing properties of the country’s indigenous plants. They estimate that there are 200,000 traditional healers in the country.
  • This widely linked article from Indian Country media in the United States speaks to scientific findings that support traditional healing agents in used by indigenous peoples there.
  • The Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with Jimma University organized a conference on “Ethiopian Traditional Medicine: Underutilized/Threatened Heritage and its Prospects” January 16-17, 2015. See photo of participants.
  • Kirkland & Ellis is acting for Hong Kong’s China Traditional Chinese Medicine in a proposed $1.3-billion purchase of the largest manufacturer of concentrated traditional Chinese medicine granules in China.
  • The major British indexed medical journal The Lancet included this thoughtful article urging collaborative engagement between traditional and complementary systems of medicine and conventional biomedicine for mental illness.
  • Plans for major study on Ayurveda’s potential led by author Deepak Chopra, MD, received attention from multiple media.
  • The cleverly titled “T(ha)ime Machine: Global Trends Turn Back to Thai Wisdom,” hosted by the Office of Knowledge Management and Development at Royal Paragon Hall, sought to draw attention to the nation’s traditional medicine traditions.
  • The crossover issues of healthcare integration and colonialism is the subject of this posting on the indigenous Canadian child who died recently after her parents chose to forego Western methods.
  • British Member of Parliament David Tredinnick is keeping up his call for the government to explore contributions of complementary medicine practitioners as a partial solution to the medical crisis there.
  • In Gambia, President Yahya Jammeh gave “high priority to traditional medicine” as he called for its full acceptance and integration into the delivery system while also calling for a crackdown on healers who oversell their services. The government is reiterating its 2009 ban on advertising of traditional medicines or any other forms of medicine “especially on the radio.”
  • Also in Gambia, before the end of 2015 the government, in collaboration with its Traditional Healers Association (TRAHAS), will host a World Summit of Natural Medicine Practitioners in Banjul in collaboration with the West African Health Organization.
  • A delegation of Russian military doctors visited Chinese doctors to explore integration of these methods in care of their soldiers. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu had previously expressed interest in establishing a Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Moscow.
  • In the city of Saurimo, Angola, a 2-day meeting was held to promote natural products “used in treating endemic diseases.” The event was promoted by the Provincial Directorate of Culture in Lunda Sul and the provincial governor, Cândida Narciso, pictured, attended.
  • In Karachi, conservative Pakistani president Mamnoon Hussain urged “practitioners as well as proponents of alternative medicine to focus towards scientific research as well standardisation of education and training in homoeopathy” and traditional practices.
  • In India, a crackdown on “two types of quacks—one kind is Siddha, Ayurveda and unani doctors who prescribe allopathic medicines or administer injections. And then there are those who claim to be traditional medicine practitioners but do not possess a registration number or educational qualifications.”
  • In Ghana, the National vice chair of the Ghana Federation of Traditional Medicine Practitioners (GHAFTRAM), Sheikh Amen Bonsu, has “urged the members to make sure that their medicines are prepared under strict hygienic conditions.”
  • Insurance payments for complementary and alternative medicine practices are under assault following a leaked government report.
  • A new goods and services tax in Malaysia may end up shutting down up to a third (1800) of the 6000 “Chinese medicine halls” in that country due to challenges in meeting computerization and other requirements.
  • The central government of India has announced that it will financially support a new Ayurvedic clinical research center on 50 acres in Kerala to help “scientifically validate traditional systems of healing.” The center will include a strong biotech unit. The government’s goal is to expand the already robust market for Ayurvedic medicine 5-fold by 2020.
  • Apparently, the Indian complex will also include India’s first center for the interdisciplinary study of medicine, the Amrita Institute for Integrated Medicine and Research Center.
  • A “reverse pharmacology process” is being explored in Palau for use of medicinal plants for diabetes and other nonpharmacological diseases following publication of a major study.
  • The use of deer antler therapy is being viewed as a potential growth area for medical tourism in Kazakhstan. The “wellness or health tourism” potential is said to be “from traditional cures like kumyss therapy, mineral and other water treatments and traditional medicine treatments including deer antler therapy.”
  • An excellent overview of the Indian government’s plans with its AYUSH department and the globalization of Ayurveda is here. Recent action in India has stimulated this reflection on the AYUSH department and the global movement for “integrative medicine” with the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (United States) referenced.
  • This article in Forbes speaks to the efforts in China to make a demarcation between those traditional medicines that can be added to food and those that cannot. This is in a country where food is definitely viewed as medicine.
  • Members of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association (Zinatha) are taking on “vendors who have flooded the streets selling the so called herbs for curing various ailments” calling them a danger to public health “as they are neither traditional healers nor herbalists.”
  • One of Shanghai’s 157 “intangible cultural traditions” was celebrated in the Chinese Global Times: the TCM practice of orthopedics.
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