MOH News
MOH Approves Licenses for Cupping
17 February 2015
The Executive Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), Dr. Abdullah bin Muhammad Al-Baddah, revealed that the Ministry of Health "MOH" has approved issuing licenses to practice cupping in accordance with regulations identified by the Center.
 
"Some of such regulations are related to practitioners and facilities, while others are related to practice and service requesters," he said, adding that such regulations, which were approved by the competent authorities, have been developed after reviewing many researches, studies and international experiences in this field.
Dr. Al-Baddah underscored that the Center will begin, within four weeks, implementation of a five-stage approved plan that should be available to start issuing licenses for practicing cupping, also known as Hijama. He added that the first stage entails training physicians, while the second is associated with approving institutes and centers for training practitioners on cupping.
 
"The third stage, meanwhile, involves training Hijama practitioners, including physicians, holders of a university degree in physiotherapy or nursing and holders of a post-secondary technical health diploma, provided that it is classified by and registered in the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties," he said.
 
Dr. Al-Baddah added that the fourth stage deals with licensing the cupping practitioners after attending a training course on Hijama practicing, passing a test by the NCCAM and making sure that the applicant is free of infectious diseases, including the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome "AIDS", Viral Hepatitis (B and C) and the Tuberculosis. The last stage is granting the license to practice cupping.
 
During the press conference he held at the MOH's Headquarters today morning (Tuesday), Dr. Al-Baddah said that the stages set out by the NCCAM will be the criterion to curb random practices of cupping at homes and barber shops, or by individuals specially outside the licensed clinics. "To grant licenses to cupping clinics, the center entails complying with health procedures, engineering specifications and suitable distribution and having furniture and necessary medical and non-medical equipment," Dr. Al-Baddah said.
 
He noted that the NCCAM is keen to maintain the health and safety of the community members and make them aware of the risks of the random cupping, as the national reference body which provides information on activities of complementary and alternative medicine.
 
Dr. Al-Baddah added that the Council of Ministers' decision to establish the Center has outlined a number of tasks entrusted to it, which included issuing licenses to practice alternative medicine, monitoring and evaluating activities of the licensed individuals or establishments, conducting researches and studies in the field of cupping and developing rules for regulating the practice of cupping and methods of its safe use.
 
"The Center has banned the cupping therapy for children less than 12 years, cancer patients, those undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy and those infected with severe or chronic kidney failure, liver failure and blood diseases like Hemophilia, patients using an artificial pacemaker, patients with varicose veins and those using blood-thinning medicines, such as Warfarin and others," he said.
 
Dr. Al-Baddah said the Center welcomes any initiative from health practitioners in the field of complementary and alternative medicine to regulate cupping practices and confront any misleading thoughts of profitability and other harmful health practices. He pointed out that the center has developed a road map to grant such licensees, starting with contracting with a specialized company to design an electronic program for receiving and approving licenses requests. He also highlighted that the program is on its final stages, and will be launched within the next two days, so applicants can submit their applications through this program. 
 
 
He disclosed that the first stage of licensing will be restricted to health practices, noting that the licensee should be a health practitioner registered in and classified by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, whether he/she is a doctor, nurse or physiotherapist. Also, the applicant is required to attend a training course, after which he obtains a license to practice cupping.
 
Dr. Al-Baddah stressed that the Center will give the cupping practitioners, now totaling about 1,000 persons, a period of no more than 6 months to legalize their status, either by getting the license or renewing their licenses issued by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in accordance with the new regulations. He pointed out that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has recently halted granting and renewing licenses to cupping practitioners as per a request from the MOH.
 
On the penalties that will be imposed on the violating practitioners and facilities, Dr. Al-Baddah explained that they include fines, temporary closure and permanent closure, saying that he is optimistic that the regulations that have been developed carefully will not lead to any errors in the practice.
 
Dr. Al-Baddah went on saying that the Center is tasked with monitoring and following up these clinics through the application of a quality system, which obliges these facilities or clinics to submit periodic reports every three months to the Center. In addition, the Center will inspect these facilities by sending inspectors who have been appointed particularly for this purpose, pointing out that the Center is now staffed with seven inspectors.
 
Dr. Al-Baddah said that the regulations obliged those wishing to invest in the cupping field to hire at least a general practitioner to examine the requesters of the service and determine whether they are in need of cupping or not.
 
In conclusion, Dr. Al-Baddah said that the Center has granted the first initial license to a practitioner from Abha, adding that the Center received also requests from investors and centers for training trainers and practitioners nationwide to obtain licenses to practice cupping.
 
 
 
 



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