WHO to develop first-ever International Classification for traditional medicine

The United Nations health agency is set to develop the first-ever International Classification for traditional medicine, which is a primary source of health care for many people in parts of South-East Asia, Africa and Latin America and is increasingly being used in Europe and North America.

The International Classification of Traditional Medicine project will assist in creating an evidence base for traditional medicine – producing terminologies and classifications for diagnoses and interventions, according to a news release by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Traditional medicine, as defined by WHO, is the sum total of knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures that are used to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve or treat physical and mental illnesses.

In some Asian and African countries, the agency points out, 80 per cent of the population depend on traditional and herbal medicine for primary health care.

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