WHO to document TCM information for global expansion

Foreign physicians learn massage at the TCM Hospital of Yunnan Province.

Details regarding traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) will be included for the first time in the 11th version of the World Health Assembly’s global compendium, which will be published next year, according to nature.com, Thepaper.cn reported on Sept. 27.

The compendium is also known as the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD). The document categorizes thousands of diseases and diagnoses and sets the medical agenda for more than 100 countries.

The information will appear in Chapter 26 of the document, which states the categorization of traditional medicine. The chapter is set to be implemented by member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2022.

The inclusion of TCM information in the WHO document is the result of more than 10 years of hard work from TCM practitioners around the world, led by Choi Seung-hoon, the former traditional medicine adviser for the Manila-based western Pacific office of the WHO.

The WHO’s decision will help spread TCM around the world. Ryan Abbott, a medical doctor who has also trained in TCM and is a member of the Center for East-West Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the WHO’s decision in regards to TCM is a mainstream acceptance that will have a significant impact around the world.

The WHO has avidly supported traditional medicine, and TCM above all, as a step toward its long-term goal of universal health care. According to the agency, traditional treatments are less costly and more accessible than Western medicine in some countries.