MOH News
Dr. Al-Rabeeah Inaugurates the Second Gulf Conference on Complementary Medicine Today
24 November 2013
His Excellency the Minister of Health Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Rabeeah said the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is a part of the healthcare system adopted by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the health sector in the Kingdom in general, calling for replacing the alternative medicine with the complementary medicine.
Following the inauguration of the Conference at King Faisal Auditorium in Riyadh, Dr. Al-Rabeeah said there are malpractices in the field of alternative medicine, expressing hope that these practices would be regulated and legalized.
“If we do so, all services provided for patients, whether those of traditional, scientific or complementary medicine, will fall within the standards of quality and safety; thus, we can provide comprehensive health care for patients,” Dr. Al-Rabeeah added.
Within the same vein, Dr. Al-Rabeeah highlighted that the Council of Health Services has requested the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine to conduct more studies on cupping; with the aim to ensure the safety of its practices. Dr. Al-Rabeeah further underlined that cupping is used currently on a large scale, noting that the Ministry is keen on regulating this service in such a manner that ensures providing it.
Dr. Al-Rabeeah warned also of beneficiaries and exploiters who make use of urgent needs of people for treatment using complementary or alternative medicine, noting that those people are using wrong and harmful therapeutic means.
In addition, Dr. Al-Rabeeah shed light on the necessity to control and regulate the practices of traditional and complementary medicine in order to ensure safety, efficiency and quality, pointing out that this need targets raising the level of awareness among individuals, promoting health behaviors and encouraging physicians and specialists to carry out more researches, studies and surveys in this field; in an endeavor to provide more documented information for beneficiaries.
“These procedures come within MOH's efforts to activate the slogan; “Patient First”, said Dr. Al-Rabeeah.
Within the same context, Dr. Al-Rabeeah said the Kingdom must take advantage of the experiences of the leading countries in this field and learn of challenges and obstacles they faced to regulate, control, and legalize practices of alternative medicine.
Dr. Al-Rabeeah added that the complementary medicine has become a reality nowadays as it witnesses a large turnout all over the world in spite of cognitive and cultural development and scientific progress. Dr. Al-Rabeeah attributed this success to the growing interest in this field in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as the recent studies showed that several traditional and complementary practices are used among different segments of GCC society.
The traditional and complementary medicine has received real interest by the official health facilities in the Gulf cooperation council in order to legalize and regulate its practice through the preparation of a scientific reference and development of controls of rehabilitation and licensing, standards of practice and mechanisms of supervision and accountability.
For his part, the Executive Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Dr. Abdullah bin Muhammad Al-Baddah said the popular medicine (alternative or complementary medicine) is practiced in most countries of the world with different names, noting that it is considered a cultural heritage that attracts three quarters of the world's population.
Dr. Al-Baddah indicated that the complementary and alternative medicine is currently receiving unprecedented attention from all countries of the world due to its importance and prominent role in preventing and treating diseases, given that many of these countries have recently begun using this type of medicine but unfortunately most of them still lack scientific evidence of its technical aspects.
Within the same vein, Dr. Al-Baddah went on adding that the conference aims at enriching people’s knowledge of “the evidence-based complementary medicine” notion, and enhancing the positive propensity towards practicing it, noting that the conference will be held for three days and will discuss topics related to complementary and alternative medicine under seven axes.
Finally, the Chairman of the Oxford-based Global Initiative for Traditional Systems Professor Gerard Bodikr delivered a lecture during the opening ceremony of the conference. He discussed alternative medicine and its relation to the modern medicine. Bodikr called also for making use of scientific studies and research in the field of alternative medicine, particularly with regard to the practices of the Islamic community in the field of popular medicine.
At the end of the ceremony, the Minister honored the participants in the conference, sponsors and organizers.

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