chapter  3
Is Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine Really Possible?
WithBoris Velimirovic
Pages 28

The Programme on Traditional Medicine (TM) of the World Health Organization, endorsing the use of traditional practitioners in national health systems, formally came into being in 1978. Traditional practitioners were brought to modern hospitals and clinics for retraining, special wards were set aside for acupuncture and herbal medicine, and Western doctors were invited to take courses in TM. Despite all the official endorsements, most countries have not shown enthusiasm for integration of traditional healers into their national health care systems. George M. Foster warns against uncritical acceptance of several stereotypes about TM that have been popularized over the past generation. The Chinese Government has emphasized the importance of systematic evaluation of traditional methods of treatment, indicating a degree of skepticism about the merits of TM. A study of traditional remedies for skin infection used in Chiapas, Mexico, concludes with the enthusiastic but unsupported claim that TM “can become a practical means for the detection and treatment of essential health problems”.