GOOD RESPONSE: Number of practitioners on the rise says, health minister
PUTRAJAYA: PUBLIC response to traditional and complementary medicine (TCM) provided in government hospitals has been very encouraging, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He said the number of patients treated in TCM units had shown a steady increase over the years.
“Based on statistics, the total number of patients treated last year was 38,007, and this was an increase from 2010, where only 25,050 patients were treated,” he told the New Straits Times.
In 2009 there were 15,778 patients, 2008 (11,533) and 2007 (763).
Liow was previously reported as saying that the World Health Organisation had identified TCM as an important alternative treatment to improve healthcare and that alternative medicine should be made available to the public to further encourage its development.
“Hence to further spur its growth, the ministry will be setting up two new TCM units by the end of this year at both Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital and Hospital Jasin, Malacca.”
Currently, there are only 10 hospitals that offer an integrated medicine programme that incorporates TCM into modern medicine. Among them are Putrajaya Hospital, Port Dickson Hospital and Sarawak Hospital.
The services provided were traditional Malay massage for chronic pain and post stroke management, acupuncture, herbal therapy as an adjunct treatment for cancer, Malay post-natal care and Shirodhara (ayurvedic).
The ministry is also in the midst of considering a collaboration with China to establish a Traditional Chinese Medicine Centre of Excellence (TCMCOE) that offers clinical services in traditional Chinese medicine aside from teaching and conducting research.
As for the number of practitioners in Malaysia, Liow said that there had been a rise as more higher learning institutions were offering courses in TCM.
“Not only that, the increasing awareness through ongoing roadshows about the web portal (ePENGAMAL) has encouraged practitioners to register themselves on a voluntary basis.
“There were 4,892 practitioners recorded last year.”
Meanwhile, the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Bill was recently tabled for first reading in Parliament which requires all practitioners in the field to be registered with the proposed Traditional and Complementary Medicine Council.