Canadian Chiropractor

News
WHO Beijing Declaration Supports Chiropractic


November 21, 2008
By Maria DiDanieli

Nov. 21, Toronto, ON – Strong
new policy support for the continued growth and acceptance of
chiropractic and other branches of natural medicine in national
health systems was given by the World Health Organization (WHO) and its
member nations in Beijing this month.

This
was at the WHO congress on Traditional Medicine, which included a
Symposium on Manual Methods of Healthcare organized for WHO by the
World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC). ‘Traditional medicine’ is
the term used by WHO for both traditional systems of healthcare, such
as Chinese traditional medicine, and CAM was used for systems such
as herbal remedies and manual methods of treatment.

In
her opening address to the congress, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret
Chan pointed out that the striking increase in the use of CAM in
affluent societies reflected certain weaknesses in modern medical
care, including its depersonalized and “assembly line” nature,
and a number of strengths in CAM. These strengths included a more
compassionate and holistic approach to healthcare and a focus on
prevention as well as cure, strengths that meant that CAM should have
a bigger role in primary health care and in national healthcare
systems.

Dr.
Chan explained that the two systems of traditional and western
medicine “need not clash…they can blend together in a beneficial
harmony, using the best features of each system.” However this was
“not something that will happen by itself…deliberate policy
decisions have to be made.”

The congress then supported recent WHO policy to promote TM/CAM by
approving a Beijing Declaration which recognized the value of
TM/CAM, and called upon all governments to provide for effective use
of TM/CAM in their health care systems and to “establish systems
for the qualification, accreditation or licensing of practitioners.”

During
the debate, and in his address to the congress, WFC President Dr.
Stathis Papadopoulos of Cyprus encouraged adoption of the
declaration, gave examples of the integration of chiropractic and
medical services in various countries, and illustrated how beneficial
this was for patients and healthcare systems. One example was from
Mexico, where all graduates from the chiropractic program at a state
university in Mexico City commence practice with a one year internship
at state hospitals.

The
chiropractic profession had a strong presence at the congress, with
approximately 120 delegates from 26 countries attending the Congress
Opening Ceremony and Banquet, and the Symposium on Manual Methods of
Healthcare. For the many Chinese Ministry of Health officials and
delegates present the WFC provided a five-minute video on chiropractic,
and copies of the WHO Guidelines on Basic Training and Safety in
Chiropractic, both of these in Chinese. This was made possible through the generous technical and funding support from Palmer
College, Life University, and the Hong Kong Chiropractors’
Association.

At
the symposium, there were 30-minute presentations by representatives
of many manual healthcare professions and groups – including
Chinese tuina, Korean chuna, Thai nuad, Japanese judo bonesetting,
chiropractic, osteopathy, Swedish massage therapy, naprapathy, and
Latin American bonesetting. Presentations of chiropractic and its
research status were given by Dr. William Meeker, President, Palmer
College, West Campus at San Jose, and WFC Research Council Chair Dr.
Scott Haldeman of Los Angeles.

This congress represented a major milestone for chiropractic” says WFC
president Dr. Papadopoulos. “Chiropractic was seen by WHO,
government officials from many countries and delegates from other
professions as the most developed profession internationally in the
field of manual healthcare, and the Beijing Declaration called upon
all countries to recognize and regulate CAM professionals such as
doctors of chiropractic.”

During
the next year the WFC will continue to work with WHO to promote its
policies supporting the integration of chiropractic in national
health systems. It will be greatly assisted, in this, by Dr. Molly
Robinson, a recent graduate of Northwestern Health Sciences
University in Minnesota, who starts work in January 2009 as a
Technical Officer at WHO in Geneva – the first doctor of
chiropractic to serve in this capacity.

During
2009, Dr. Robinson will have six chiropractic student interns working
with her, each for a period of three months, under arrangements made
possible because of the work of the WFC and the World Congress of
Chiropractic Students, and funding support from NCMIC, the NBCE,
Standard Process and Foot Levelers.

For
the full text of Dr. Chan’s address, Dr. Papadopoulos’ address,
and the Beijing Declaration visit the Newsroom at
www.wfc.org
and/or the Director General’s speeches at
www.who.int
.