MACAO, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- An international forum and a World Health Organization (WHO) collaborating center on traditional medicines was inaugurated here Tuesday.
The WHO center is dedicated to cooperation in personnel training, quality and safety of traditional medicines, while helping WHO members integrate traditional and complementary medicine into their health-care system.
The international forum, themed "Implementation of the World Health Organization Traditional Medicine Strategy," was attended by more than 300 officials and scholars from 27 countries and regions.
"Traditional medicine has gained wider acceptance in the last decade," said Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO.
"Between 1999 and 2012 the number of member states in the WHO with national policies on traditional medicine increased from 25 to 69, member states regulating herbal medicines increased from 65 to 119, and the number of member states with a national research institute on traditional and complementary medicine, including herbal medicines, increased from 19 to 73," she said in the opening speech.
"Traditional medicine has much to offer, especially as a contribution to primary health care and universal coverage, and most especially at a time when chronic noncommunicable diseases have overtaken infections diseases as the world's biggest killer," the WHO chief said.
The new WHO Collaborating Center of Traditional Medicine in Macao, together with other WHO collaborating centers of traditional medicine, are valuable centers for sharing experiences and best practices in the development of nation policies on traditional and complementary medicine, she noted.
A senior Chinese official said that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has spread to 183 countries and regions around the world and China has signed 83 cooperation agreements with foreign countries and related international organizations.
This is the result of China's active and influential exchanges with the world in the field of traditional medicine, said Wang Guoqiang, vice-minister in charge of China's National Health and Family Planning Commission and director of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Wong Sio Chak, acting chief executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR), said the SAR government has cultivated and supported the TCM industry as one of the key areas for the development of an appropriately diversified economy.
The Macao SAR government will continue to deepen cooperation with the WHO and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine so as to make greater contribution to promotion traditional medicine internationally, he added.