Heather McLeod


Body, Mind, Soul,


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WHO Policy on TM/CAM

WHO Traditional Medicines Strategy


The WHO Traditional Medicines Strategy 2002–2005 reviewed the global status of TM/CAM and outlines the WHO’s role and activities in TM/CAM.





Quoting directly from that document: “The [Strategy] ... provides a framework for action for WHO and its partners, aimed at enabling TM/CAM to play a far greater role in reducing excess mortality and morbidity, especially among impoverished populations. The strategy incorporates four objectives:

  • Policy: integrate TM/CAM with national health care systems, as appropriate, by developing and implementing national TM/CAM policies and programmes.

  • Safety, efficacy and quality: promote the safety, efficacy and quality of TM/CAM by expanding the knowledgebase on TM/CAM, and by providing guidance on regulatory and quality assurance standards.

  • Access: increase the availability and affordability of TM/CAM, as appropriate, with an emphasis on access for poor populations.

  • Rational use: promote therapeutically sound use of appropriate TM/CAM by providers and consumers.”


“TM/CAM has many positive features including: diversity and flexibility; accessibility and affordability in many parts of the world; broad acceptance among many populations in developing countries; increasing popularity in developed countries; comparatively low cost; low level of technological input; and growing economic importance. These can all be seen as opportunities to be maximized. But other features of this type of health care can be regarded as challenges to be overcome. They include: the varying degree with which it is recognized by governments; the lack of sound scientific evidence concerning the efficacy of many of its therapies; difficulties relating to the protection of indigenous TM knowledge; and problems in ensuring its proper use.”



WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023


Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, released the updated strategy at a launch ceremony in Macau, China, on the 28 October 2013.


In the foreword to the report she says:

“T&CM [traditional and complementary medicine] is an important and often underestimated part of health care. T&CM is found in almost every country in the world and the demand for its services is increasing. TM, of proven quality, safety, and efficacy, contributes to the goal of ensuring that all people have access to care. Many countries now recognize the need to develop a cohesive and integrative approach to health care that allows governments, health care practitioners and, most importantly, those who use health care services, to access T&CM in a safe, respectful, cost-efficient and effective manner. A global strategy to foster its appropriate integration, regulation and supervision will be useful to countries wishing to develop a proactive policy towards this important - and often vibrant and expanding - part of health care.”





World Health Organization (WHO) on

Traditional Medicine

WHO Traditional Medicine Flag of the WHO

WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023

WHO Strategy 2002-05 WHO Strategy 2014-2023

Download ENZCAM Professional Brief: WHO Policy on TM/CAM

WHO Policy TM/CAM Worldwide Status Integration

See also pages:

Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine

WHO Strategy 2014-2023