Traditional Medicine Systemization

Traditional Medicine Systemization

Traditional medicine practitioners will soon be granted practice permits and the Iranian Traditional Medicine Association will implement a program to oversee and manage their activities, said Mahmoud Khodadoost, deputy for Traditional Medicine at the Health Ministry.
“Traditional medicine services did not have a specific organizational structure up to now, and the Health Ministry has directed the association to initiate a protocol that would enable issuing permits to the discipline’s practitioners,” he said, IRNA reported.
So far, individuals practicing traditional medicine or active in the field were doing so without a qualifying process or official certification. In addition, legal action against violators was not standard. Some universities of medical sciences wielded more authority than others in reprimanding violators, the official noted.
Traditional medicine is commonly defined as the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.
‘Hijama’ (or the Arabic traditional practice of wet cupping), where blood is drawn by vacuum from a small skin incision for therapeutic purposes, as well as massage therapy are not allowed to be practiced without a permit, Khodadoost pointed out.
Cases of violation were looked into by the Judiciary or a competent authority in medical sciences only when there was an instance of malpractice reported or lawsuit filed, he noted.
“All this is about to change under the new protocol.”
The association will conduct online teaching programs on its official website in six main areas in traditional medicine, namely basic concepts and principles of the discipline, basic self-care concepts, herbal medicine material, treatment principles and methodology, and therapeutic procedures including ‘hijama’ and massage therapy.
Those interested in practicing the discipline must pass all six fields in the examinations scoring the benchmarks in each field of specialty so as to get certified by the association and be able to practice in their respective specialty.
“The Health Ministry estimates that the number of applicants signing up on the web portal will be around 5000-6,000, who will then take roughly six months to take the online exam and get accreditation.”
Traditional medicine is in no way contradictory with modern medicine and can help boost community health if practitioners, nurses, and social workers are well trained.

 Official Centers
There are currently 20 official centers active in traditional medicine regulated by the Health Ministry at universities of medical sciences, said Khodadoost. No permits have been granted so far for private practice.
With the new protocol to train and certify qualified practitioners, the Health Ministry aims to effectively monitor activities in the field and put an end to illegal and uncertified practice.
The proposal to set up a massage therapy program at academic levels has been presented to the Iranian Council for Graduate Medical Education.
Social health workers have also been trained in 10 universities of medical science to provide basic services in traditional medicine, including tips on regimens and healthy diets, for the 1,000 rural health houses to be established in rural areas of Khorasan Razavi, Tehran, Hamedan, Fars, Kashan, Kerman, Yazd, and Tabriz provinces.

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