Leung moves to advance traditional medicine

Updated: 2012-08-15 06:55

By Li Likui (HK Edition)

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The government announced on Tuesday the creation of the preparatory task force for the soon-to-be-established Chinese Medicine Development Committee. Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man will serve as chairman of the task force.

The principal mission of the task force will be to suggest duties and responsibilities of the development committee and make recommendations as to who should serve on the committee.

Task force members will include 10 representatives from among practitioners of Chinese medicine and deans of all three local schools of Chinese medicine from the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University.

Chairman Andrew Chan Chi-fai of the statutory body - Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong, President of Hong Kong Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioners Association Fung Jiu, and Chairman of Hong Kong Chinese Medicine Industry Association Tommy Li Ying-sang also were named to sit on the task force.

Chinese medicine is a popular therapy in Hong Kong. At present, the number of Chinese medical clinics established by the Hospital Authority and by third parties is 16. Every year, about 1 million patients receive treatment from the clinics.

"All the numbers have shown that Chinese medicine is recognized and popular among the public, especially in the primary care aspect," said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

In CY Leung's platform during the Chief Executive election, he promised to create a Chinese Medicine Development Committee, whose purpose was to provide better health service to the public. The government will work to expand the role that Chinese medicine plays in the public health system, hire more practitioners and set up a Chinese medicine hospital to encourage a combined approach using Chinese and Western medicine.

The government, in 1999, established Chinese Medicine Council of Hong Kong under the Chinese Medicine Ordinance. After a decade of development, Hong Kong has a fairly well-established, regulated Chinese medicine mechanism, added Leung.

"Though Hong Kong has done a great job in regulating Chinese medicine, we still need to think about how to promote the development further, instead of focusing on regulating alone. Thus, the committee will aim at pushing the industry forward," explained Leung.

Director General of Hong Kong Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine Yu Ming-chu welcomed the government's move.

"I hope that Chinese medicine can work together with Western medicine to serve the public equally," said Yu, who is also a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine.

Yu said Hong Kong didn't have a certified Chinese medicine hospital and Chinese medical practitioners are under appreciated by the public.

Yu went on that some people have some misunderstandings that when undertaking chemotherapy during a cancer treatment, it is unsuitable to take Chinese medicine.

Western medicine and the Chinese medicine should not be in opposition, she said. With proper cooperation, Chinese medicine can alleviate side-effects of Western medicine, Yu added.

stushadow@chinadailyhk.com

(HK Edition 08/15/2012 page1)