Mon, 18 Sep 2023 - 12:47 GMT
Mon, 18 Sep 2023 - 12:47 GMT
CAIRO - 18 September 2023: The Information and Decision Support Center of the Council of Ministers recently unveiled a comprehensive report titled "Alternative Medicine: A Global and Local Overview." The detailed study delves into the concept of alternative medicine, key stakeholders, the role played by the World Health Organization (WHO) in devising a strategy for traditional (folk) and complementary medicine, and the standing of alternative medicine in Egypt.
The report also touches upon Egypt's international trade indices for herbal medicines and its booming medical tourism.
The Surge towards Alternative Medicine
In the aftermath of worldwide health crises, notably the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent economic upheavals like the Russian-Ukrainian crisis that escalated global inflation rates, there has been a notable shift. These global events inadvertently propelled the cost of traditional medicine. Meanwhile, there's been a growing inclination among individuals worldwide towards alternative, traditional, or, as coined by the WHO, complementary medicine.
This preference is largely attributed to its affordability and accessibility. The WHO emphasizes that such alternative treatments are still widely used across nations, and the scope of interest is expanding beyond the products to focus on practices and practitioners.
Alternative Medicine Forms Highlighted
The report elaborated on several forms of traditional and complementary medicine, such as Ayurveda (originating from India), Traditional Chinese Medicine, Unani Medicine, Naturopathy, Manual Therapies, Natural Remedies, and Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment.
Financials: A Flourishing Market
Globally, the alternative medicine market stood at approximately $100.04 billion in 2021. Projections indicate a surge to $315.5 billion by 2027, representing a compound annual growth rate of 20.8% from 2022 to 2027. This rise underscores an increasing consumer preference for natural products and treatments worldwide.
Insurance's Role in Market Growth
Further bolstering the market's growth is the healthcare insurance sector. Numerous health insurance companies are now integrating coverage for alternative and complementary medicine into their medical plans, contributing to the sector's expansion.
In a related context, as a result of the growing interest and turn of many individuals to alternative medicine, especially herbal remedies, the World Health Organization (WHO) formulated a strategy in 2002 titled, "WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002-2005." Recognizing the evolving needs and the expanding landscape of alternative medicine, this strategy was subsequently updated to encompass the period from 2014 to 2023.
The adoption of these strategic frameworks by the WHO has served as a catalyst, prompting member countries to recognize traditional (folk) and complementary medicine as integral components of their healthcare systems.
Why the Continued Revamp of Strategy?
The rationale for the continuous update of these strategies stems from several compelling factors:
Rapid Advancements in Traditional Medicine: The remarkable progress in both traditional (folk) and complementary medicine and the increasing reliance of individuals on them.
Economic Significance: The economic importance of alternative medicine has grown, especially during financial crises, global disease outbreaks, and other challenges. In such times, individuals tend to gravitate towards these medicines, primarily due to their cost-effectiveness compared to mainstream drugs. Additionally, the e-commerce boom has facilitated the online purchase of herbal remedies, further propelling their reach.
Global Proliferation of Products: The spread of alternative medicine products worldwide has necessitated countries to identify and endorse safe products and practices within this domain.
Variations in Global Standards: Different countries have varying educational standards and laws pertaining to practices and practitioners of alternative medicine. Therefore, there's a pressing need to ensure professional consistency at a global level.
Intellectual Property Rights: Recognizing and preserving the intellectual property rights of indigenous populations and their rich heritage in healthcare is paramount.
Integration into Healthcare Systems: Documenting the assimilation of alternative medicine into mainstream healthcare systems remains essential.