Integrated treatment benefits highlighted
( 2003-10-11 01:47) (China Daily)
World Health Organization experts said on Friday that they recognized that treatment integrating traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine to deal with severe acute respiratory syndrome is "safe'' and has "potential benefits.''
The experts were attending a three-day international meeting in Beijing jointly hosted by the United Nations-affiliated organization and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The meeting finished on Friday. It was held to review and analyse clinical reports on the integrated treatment of SARS, objectively evaluate the efficiency and safety of the integrated treatment, and share experiences and information relating to SARS treatment.
In total, 110 people attended the meeting, including officials from the WHO and experts from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands, Thailand, the United States and Viet Nam.
The experts reviewed and evaluated 13 reports concerning research into clinical treatment, convalescence and prevention as related to SARS. Ten of those reports were from the Chinese mainland and three from Hong Kong.
After discussion, the experts agreed that professionals in traditional Chinese medicine working in clinical medicine and research had saved the lives of many SARS patients in extremely dangerous and urgent circumstances.
According to incomplete statistics, of the 195 SARS hospitals on the Chinese mainland, 102 hospitals or 52.3 per cent of the total hired professionals in the field of traditional Chinese medicine.
Of the 5,327 diagnosed SARS patients on the Chinese mainland, 58.3 per cent received traditional Chinese medical treatment.
At a press conference held on Friday, Simon Mardel of the WHO said the reports presented at the meeting suggested that traditional Chinese medicine had caused no severe side effects in SARS patients.
Zhang Xiaorui, WHO co-ordinator for traditional medicine, said traditional Chinese medicine will not therefore cause severe damage to the heart, liver or kidneys of a SARS patient.
She added that there have not been comparable reports on SARS treatment using Western medicine.
The experts taking part in this week's meeting suggested that integrated treatment should be applied at an early stage according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine to give greater play to the potential benefits.
The experiences of using integrated treatment to tackle SARS can serve as a reference point for other countries when working to prevent or treat acute epidemics.
But Mardel stressed that the WHO has not recommended any treatment as effective in fighting SARS.
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