WHO's current strategy for traditional, complementary and integrative medicine (TCIM) expires this year. The WHO has therefore approached its member states for input on a follow-up strategy and the way forward. The Norwegian health authorities have asked NAFKAM to contribute to the Norwegian official position on these matters.
Head of NAFKAM, Professor Miek Jong, appreciates the request. NAFKAM has been a WHO Collaboration Center since 2008 and has contributed significantly to achieving the aims of the current TCIM strategy. As a national research center since 2000, it also has particular insight into the field of TCIM:
- Our surveys on use of CAM in Norway show that TCIM modalities are part of Norwegians' total health services, she says. -Potential safety issues related to TCIM treatment are therefore also relevant for Norwegian patients, healthcare personnel and the public healthcare system. A new or updated global strategy for WHO’s member countries can support NAFKAM's mission, activities and priorities, and contribute to safe and knowledge-based health choices among Norwegians.
- There are several areas that are not covered by or out of reach for the current WHO strategy. A new strategy is therefore needed. Regarding specific goals, we recommend developing a joint global plan of prioritized research areas within TCIM, as well as a uniform system for monitoring and reporting of adverse effects from TCIM treatment, says Jong.
Further, Jong and NAFKAM recommends that in the upcoming period, WHO should contribute to increased transparency and improved dialogue between health care professionals and users of TCIM and other health strategies:
- In addition, we advise that the guidelines and recommended standards WHO has developed for the TCIM area are evaluated by patients and providers before they are recommended and put into use.
The official hearing for a new WHO strategy will be held in January/February.