KARACHI - Professor Liu Xinmin, WHO Adviser on Traditional Medicines, has said that Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs) have been developed and refined over the course of thousands of years for the prevention and treatment of diseases, while the traditional Unani Medicines (TUM) are used commonly by Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi people.

Speaking as a chief guest at 4th Hamdard International Conference on Unani Medicine 2017 titled, ‘Unani Medicine; Past, Present and Future’ held at Medinat al-Hikmah here on Monday,  Prof Liu Xinmin said both TCMs and TUMs played an important role in the maintenance of human health.

He said the Chinese government was working hard to modernise and globalize the traditional Chinese medicines in general and there was one successful model to integrate the traditional medicine with conventional medicine in national health care delivery system in China, which is fully recognised by WHO.

In China, he said, both TCMs and conventional (Western) medicines shared the same position in all fields, education, research, practices etc. “Both of them are used routinely, the cost of TCM has been covered by national medical insurance,” he said, and added, “With the gradual increase of investment in R&D of TCM, internationally influential achievements are being recognized.”

He said Prof Tuyouyou had won the Lasker Award in 2011 and Nobel Prize in 2015 for extracting a novel and important anti-malaria compound, artemisinin, from a Chinese herb.

Liu Xinmin said he was fully aware of the contributions made by Hakim Muhammad Saeed, the Founding Chancellor of Hamdard University, to the promotion of Unani medicines in Pakistan, and that globally, too, his contributions were highly appreciated.

“Hakim Saeed had led a six-member medical delegation to China in Nov, 1963 and was inspired by TCM and penned down a book, entitled ‘Medicine in China’,” he recalled.

Hamdard University Chancellor and Hamdard Foundation Pakistan President Sadia Rashid, in her presidential address, underlined the need for cooperation between a hakim, doctor and pharmacist and said today most major bodies, including WHO, had come to subscribe to this view. She said sharing and hence pooling of knowledge and experience was essential to improve the health prospects for not just the lucky few but the masses in general, and to hold out high hope not only for the well-to-do, but also for the poor or otherwise disadvantaged people. 

Rahid AH Bhikha, from the Institute of Tibb, Roodepoort, Johannesburg, South Africa, while tracing the history, said that over a thousand years ago Ibn Sina produced the Canon on Medicine (Al_Qanum fi al-Tibb) which encompassed all medical knowledge prevalent at the time as it covered all aspects from pathology, to diagnosis and treatment.   

Convener of the conference Prof Dr Ghazala Hafees Riawani dwelt at length on the importance of the conference.

Pakistan Council for Science and Technology Chairman Prof Dr Anwarul Hassan Gilani and Prof Dr Zata Khan Shinwari also shared their experiences with the participants.

Vice Chancellor, Hamdard University Prof Dr Hakim Abdul Hanan, in his welcome address, paid rich tributes to Hakim Muhammad Saeed for promoting Unani Medicine in Pakistan and across the globe, and said that the Faculty of Eastern Medicine, Hamdard University was keeping his tradition alive, and the 4th Hamdard International Conference on Unani Medicine reflected the same spirit. Around 100 medical delegates from all over the country and 38 foreign delegates are attending the conference.