‘Strin­gent ac­cred­i­ta­tion stan­dards needed for TCM prac­ti­tion­ers’

New Straits Times - - News -

PU­TRA­JAYA: Strin­gent ac­cred­i­ta­tion stan­dards for tra­di­tional and com­ple­men­tary medicine (TCM) prac­ti­tion­ers are needed to en­sure they are safe for peo­ple who seek such treat­ment.

For­mer Malaysian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion (MMA) pres­i­dent Pro­fes­sor Datuk Dr N.K.S. Thar­masee­lan said the Health Min­istry should al­low only prac­ti­tion­ers who had un­der­gone ac­cred­ited train­ing.

“Doc­tors un­dergo five years of train­ing at ac­cred­ited med­i­cal col­leges and un­dergo four years of train­ing at pub­lic hos­pi­tals be­fore be­ing al­lowed to go into pri­vate prac­tice. I hope for the same strin­gent ac­cred­i­ta­tion stan­dards be ap­plied to TCM prac­ti­tion­ers.

“Med­i­cal col­leges are ac­cred- ited and re­quired to have a min- imal en­try qual­i­fi­ca­tion crite- ria. They are mon­i­tored strin­gently by the Malaysian Med­i­cal Coun­cil and Malaysian Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Agency (MQA).

“Sim­i­larly, any TCM train­ing (in­sti­tute) should have a (min­i­mal) qual­i­fy­ing en­try re­quire­ments,” he told the New Straits Times.

In an re­port by the New Sun­day Times, the Health Min­istry re­vealed that it re­cently es­tab­lished the Tra­di­tional and Com­ple­men­tary Medicine Coun­cil to reg­u­late such prac­tices to pro­tect pub­lic safety and health.

It is iden­ti­fy­ing prac­tices that will ei­ther be “le­galised” or “crim­i­nalised” un­der a law that gov­erns the coun­cil.

Dr Thar­masee­lan said there was a need to weed out un­qual­i­fied prac­ti­tion­ers and pro­hibit prac­tices that were not ev­i­dence­based.

“Prac­tices such as us­ing leeches will need to be banned. Not all herbs are safe. This also de­pends on the amount and type of herb as they may be sub­jected to pes­ti­cides and ge­netic mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

“Thus checks are re­quired at the source level,” he added.

Dr Thar­masee­lan said trained TCM prac­ti­tion­ers must be in­cluded in the en­force­ment team in the min­istry that is em­pow­ered to check on such prac­ti­tion­ers to en­sure bet­ter en­force­ment.

In en­sur­ing the pub­lic re­ceived gen­uine medicines and treat­ments, he said checks must be car­ried out on med­i­ca­tions and drugs used by TCM prac­ti­tion­ers to en­sure they are safe prior to regis­tra­tion and ap­proval for pub­lic con­sump­tion.

“Most of the TCM ‘medicines’ are im­ported. Thor­ough tests must be car­ried out to en­sure their safety,” he said, adding there was a need to dis­tin­guish TCM prac­ti­tion­ers.

Pro­fes­sor Datuk Dr N.K.S. Thar­masee­lan

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