WHO supports Government of Maldives National Symposium for Traditional and Alternative Medicine

30th December 2018 - President of Maldives H.E Ibrahim Mohamed Solih inaugurated the National Symposium for Traditional and Alternative Medicine in fulfillment of one of the health pledges by Government of Maldives in his 100-day action plan. HE President noted traditional medicine is related to both the body and spirit of people and highlighted their importance in relation to lifestyle related diseases and with greater focus on prevention. The event was graced by Honorable Minister of Health, Cabinet Ministers, WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur, WHO South East Asia Regional Advisor for Traditional Medicine Dr Sungchol Kim, Traditional Medicine Practitioners, senior officials from MOH and other ministries and partners.

The symposium was designed to spark meaningful dialogue to address gaps and challenges faced by practitioners, researchers, implementors and the regulatory body in current practice of Traditional Medicine in Maldives. WHO as convener of the symposium provided a platform which successfully bought different stakeholders together and identified a road map for the way forward.

In his remarks, His Excellency President noted on the importance of ensuring safety and proper use of traditional medicine by practitioners. Noting that traditional medicine is related to both the body and spirit of people, he emphasized that it must be practiced by professionals; whom are knowledgeable on the subject.”

Furthermore, the President stated that ‘Dhivehi-beys’ needed to be systematized, in order to identify those who require alternative medicine and the results of such treatments. President Solih went on to highlight the spike in diseases related to lifestyle choices, noting the increasing cases of diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer in the recent history of Maldives

“Changes in our lifestyle would create a healthy society. The sector for alternative medicine should be broadened in order to establish preventive measures,” highlighted his Excellency President.

During the WHO Representative’s in-depth technical presentation on the topic, Dr. Arvind Mathur reflected on the importance of Traditional Medicine, even in modern times. “Traditional medicine is highly acceptable and mainly used for chronic conditions.” he noted. “It offers us more choices in relation to lifestyle-related diseases, as complimentary medicine.”

WHO South East Asia’s Regional Advisor Dr Kim was brought in by WHO Maldives who gave a brief overview of WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy (2014-2023) and highlighted on the country best practices in the South East Asia region for this field and key areas in which Maldives can improve based on the country’s specific needs.

The symposium proved to be successful occasion towards upholding and signifying the lifelong practice and values of Traditional Medicine or “Dhivehi Beysverikan”. WHO is proud and privileged to continue supporting the Government of Maldives in such unique endeavors to meet and fulfil the health needs of the people.