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BRICS promotes traditional medicine

By Wang Xiaodong in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-07 09:02

President Xi Jinping calls for intensified exchanges, cooperation in healthcare

The BRICS nations have pledged to strengthen the integration of traditional medicine in their national healthcare systems to improve services, according to a declaration by the five nations released during a high-level meeting on Thursday.

"It is necessary to strengthen the integration of traditional medicine in the national healthcare system as a valuable means to promote and encourage the practice, education and training ... of traditional medicine to improve the quality and outreach of healthcare services," said the declaration, released during the BRICS Health Ministers Meeting and a High-Level Forum on Traditional Medicine in the port city of Tianjin.

President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the meeting.

"Traditional medicine is an important carrier of fine traditional culture, and plays an important role in encouraging different civilizations to learn from each other and protect people's health," Xi said. "I hope various parties involved in the meeting will intensify exchanges and cooperation in health and learn from each other in traditional medicine to work together to cope with public health challenges."

It is the second time China has hosted such a meeting. The first BRICS Health Ministers Meeting was held in Beijing in 2011. The five countries have chosen priority areas for cooperation in the past six meetings, including intensifying health monitoring; research into tuberculosis, AIDS and malaria; and development and research into drugs, according to the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - are home to a total of more than 3 billion people, accounting for more than 40 percent of the world's population, and integrating traditional medicine into the countries' healthcare systems is crucial for achieving universal healthcare coverage, Shin Young-soo, World Health Organization regional director for the western Pacific, said in a speech during the meeting.

Wang Guoqiang, head of China's State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said: "Health cooperation has been an important part of cooperation between BRICS nations."

"Traditional medicine has played an indispensable role in protecting national health and carrying forward civilization, and intensifying cooperation in traditional medicine between BRICS nations is of great significance to benefiting people worldwide," Wang said.

Chen Kaixian, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who specializes in drug research, said, "To cope with global health challenges, such as common chronic noncommunicable diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and increasing medical costs, different countries need to integrate traditional medicine into the their modern medical and healthcare systems.

"For example, traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes healthcare and prevention of disease, and it can also be an effective means to help reduce medical costs."

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