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Dr. Ka-Kit Hui at the WHO Expert Consultation on T/CAM in Jeju, Republic of Korea

On May 12, 2015, Ka-Kit Hui, MD, FACP, Founder and Director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, participated in an “Expert Consultation on Traditional and Complementary Medicine Integration with National Health Care Systems” in Jeju, Republic of Korea. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea; and the World Health Organization, Western Pacific Regional Office; in association with the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (KIOM) at the Hyatt Regency Jeju, Republic of Korea.

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Dr. Ka-Kit Hui (front, third from left) with participants and observers of the expert consultation. Countries represented included Australia, Philippines, Canada, Norway, U.S., Republic of Korea, China, U.K., Japan, and Switzerland.

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Dr. Ka-Kit Hui with Dr. Heather Boon, Professor and Dean at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada.

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Dr. Ka-Kit Hui with Professor Denis Noble from the University of Oxford in Oxford, United Kingdom.

On May 12, 2015, Ka-Kit Hui, MD, FACP, Founder and Director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, participated in an “Expert Consultation on Traditional and Complementary Medicine Integration with National Health Care Systems” in Jeju, Republic of Korea. The meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea; and the World Health Organization (WHO), Western Pacific Regional Office; in association with the Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (KIOM) at the Hyatt Regency Jeju, Republic of Korea.

The expert consultation brought together researchers, government officers and WHO officers responsible for traditional medicine, to discuss the 2014 WHO report on Traditional and Complementary Medicine Integration with National Health Systems, and to share the current status of and identify effective ways for T&CM integration with national health systems.

According to the consultation report, commissioned by the WHO and written by Rachel Canaway, the WHO “acknowledges the contribution of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) to health, wellness, people-centred health care and universal health coverage. People around the world seek and use traditional, indigenous, complementary and alternative medicines often as primary health care. The WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023[1] provides strategic objectives, directions and actions towards the goal of ‘promoting safe and effective use of T&CM through the regulation, research and integration of T&CM products, practices and practitioners into the health system, as appropriate’ (p.43).”

At the consultation, Dr. Hui emphasized the importance of understanding the relative strengths of different healing traditions to serve as a bridge toward building a better clinical model for the world. Traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM), he says, tend to be lower cost while applying systemic thinking and levering the body's capacity to heal. However, Dr. Hui highlighted that while T&CM possess additional tools that are of practical and clinical value, it is imperative to ensure that safety comes first. “Optimal health care that is effective, safe, and accessible, and affordable should become the priority of every country’s health care system… This will require the concerted efforts, ingenuity, and collaborative spirit of the scientific and medical communities, policy makers, the public and other segments of society.”[2]

References:

1) (2013). WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014-2023 (pp. 76). Geneva: World Health Organization.

2) Hui KK. “The Potential for Incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine into Clinical Practice”. Traditional Medicine: Better Science, Policy and Services for Health Development, WHO International Symposium, Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, May 2001