WHO Position On Traditional Medicine
21 August 2023
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WHO recognizes the diversity of traditional, complementary and integrative medicine (T&CM) practices across countries of the world and its contribution to health, well-being, people-centred health care and universal health coverage.

Appropriately integrated T&CM can improve health outcomes by increasing the availability of services, especially at the level of primary health care. Many countries have a long history of traditional medicine and practitioners that are important in providing care to populations, and WHO recognizes that traditional, complementary and alternative medicine has many benefits.

Integration of T&CM with national health system and the mainstream of health care must be done appropriately, effectively and safely, based on the latest scientific evidence.

WHO assists countries that want to embrace traditional medicine practices to do so in a science-based manner to avoid patient harm and ensure safe, effective and quality health care.

An evidence-based approach is crucial; even if traditional medicines are derived from longstanding practice and are natural, establishing their efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is critical.

This not only guarantees that treatment is effective and safe, but provides the rigorous evidence needed for the recommendation of traditional medicines in WHO guidelines.

Non-medicinal therapies (e.g. yoga, acupuncture, etc.) provide an additional challenge in that there is clearly wide variability in their practice and performing randomly controlled trials is extremely difficult if not impossible. This means that we must push hard to develop new methodologies that provide credible and robust evidence to recommend their use for specific conditions.

Credit : WHO

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