IN the past years, the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) has been moving towards establishing stronger ties and sounder understanding between its members in order to reach a common goal of integrating traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) into the national health care delivery system wherein there will be a universal access to essential health services, safe and good quality medical products including traditional and complementary medicines.
This will be the highlight of the next ASEAN commemorative conference slated on Sept. 26 to 27 at Hotel Sofitel in Pasay City, headed by the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Healthcare (PITAHC).
This year marks the 50th founding anniversary of the ASEAN, which also coincides with the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship. And as a culminating activity of the ASEAN Task Force on Traditional Medicine, a commemorative conference will be held.
According to PITAHC director general Dr. Annabelle Pabiona-De Guzman, the two-day commemorative conference on T&CM will highlight the presentation of milestones and achievements of the AMS through plenary sessions. There will be 4 representatives from 10 member states which includes Timor leste.
All member states will be represented and they will be presenting their best practices in T&CM. At the same time, they will also be putting up an exhibit of their products and their practices,” Pabiona-De Guzman said.
The conference will also serve as an avenue to facilitate the exchange of information on research results in safety, efficacy and quality of herbal and traditional medicine among AMS.
She added that this gathering of minds and experts would bring them closer together, an opportune time to strengthen camaraderie, establish linkages for future trainings and partnerships not just among AMS but also with possible development partners and funding agencies that will help them promote T&CM in different countries.
Filling the gap
Many scientists, experts and those who devoted their lives to the advancement of surgery, pharmacy, therapy of sorts and modern revolutions in healthcare have put tremendous and unimaginable sacrifices for simple reasons — find a cure for our diseases and make our lives better.
Physicians face daily the challenges of a common enemy known as death caused by diseases, illness, suffering and irregularities in one’s health. It is for this reason that traditional and complimentary medicines have been finally given its due.
Since the medical profession aims to help, cure, treat, comfort, and save the lives of those who seek help, traditional and complementary medicines proved to be essential.
During the two-day conference, AMS will showcase their best traditional and complementary medicine practices, which have been proven to be effective and useful in the delivery of health care in their respective countries.
Pabiona-De Guzman is a doctor of Medicine and has been in the industry for more than 20 years, with her credentials as a doctor, she wants to give country’s T&CM a ‘facelift’ by incorporating science and evidence-based studies to the traditional practices, which the Filipinos are accustomed to.
To make the most of this commemorative conference on T&CM, Pabiona-De Guzman also stressed that representatives from the National Certification Committee on T&CM , the accredited T&CM organizations, like acupuncture, naturopathy, and homeopathy and the academe will be invited .
“We will also have delegates from the academe and we’re going to have representative from 27 non-government organizations and government organizations supporting the practice of T&CM,” she said, while stressing that the Department of Health officials will also grace this important affair.
Aside from the learning, which the PITAHC head hopes to get from the AMS, she also wants to share among them the progress and successes of the country with regards to traditional and alternative medicine.
Pabiona-De Guzman also noted that it is also the best avenue for the Philippines to send out to the world what PITAHC has been doing for the past years, which gained them recognition from the National Association of Science and Technology.
“To show our appreciation to the delegates, we will give away copies of the National Encyclopedia on Medicinal Plants, which won Book of the Year. This proves that our T&CM is scientific and evidence-based,” stressed Pabiona-De Guzman.
With this sharing of best practices on T&CM among AMS with successful practices on T&CM, every member of the ASEAN hopes that it will be the springboard towards the development of an evidence-based T&CM practices in the ASEAN.