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Friday, January 11, 2013

Regulation of Complementary Medicine in UAE

The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) has become more widespread among patients and general consumers in the Middle East region. Homeopathy, in particular, has gained more acceptances in the UAE due to various factors including stringent regulatory approval processes from the Ministry of Health (MoH). Whereas a few years ago people had to travel to countries such as India for homeopathic treatment, now there is accumulating evidence that many patients visit the UAE to avail of high quality homeopathic treatment.
This issue will be debated on the 30 January 2013 at the Complementary, Alternative & Integrative Medicine Conference which is a new addition to the conference programme at the 38th Arab Health Exhibition and Congress at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Organised by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, this conference topic is becoming increasingly relevant in the UAE as there is greater emphasis on regulating the practices of complementary medicine in the region.
For industry experts such as Mr. Sassan Behjat, CEO & Principal Consultant at Medblend in California, USA and speaker at the conference in January, what has made the UAE a model for practice of homeopathic medicine is the way it is being practiced.
"Homeopathy in the UAE is part of an integrated healthcare approach and a complementary system has evolved as a result. Such a setting moderates the practice of homeopaths to be rational and educated enough to not claim anything which is beyond their method of treatment. Also, such an integrated approach opens the way to medical doctors to learn from CAM therapists and the way they look at a disease and patient."
According to Mr. Behjat, who prior to relocating to the US served as the director of TCAM unit at the UAE Ministry of Health, the MoH makes sure the homeopathic medicines are manufactured in accordance to current GMP standards in high quality pharmaceutical facilities, and their safety and quality are guaranteed before being sold through pharmacies. Homeopathic doctors or practitioners also have to pass qualifying exams to be able to practice in the UAE. Currently, the UAE MoH, Health Authority “ Abu Dhabi (HAAD) and Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) has their own system of licensing homeopathic medicine practitioners creating more awareness and confidence among the doctors and homeopaths.
There are many homeopathic associations for professionals in Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and the use of homeopathy is increasing among people in MENA region. This is evident from Arabic online forums and discussions going on regarding the use of homeopathic medicines for variety of health conditions. There are official guidelines for registration of homeopathic medicines in the UAE, Bahrain, and Oman, and in Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar homeopathic medicines are registered under Herbal and Natural Medicine registration decrees.

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