DOHA: In a long-awaited move, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has given official approval to the practice of Complementary Medicine (CP) in Qatar which includes popular alternative medicines such as ayurveda, homeopathy and acupuncture.
The Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP) at SCH, which is authorised for licensing and monitoring healthcare practitioners in the country said yesterday that “regulation of Complementary Medicine (CM) practices has been officially approved by the QCHP Board.” QCHP clarified that the concept of “complimentary medicine” has been adopted instead of “alternative medicine” to ensure that “the patient will receive complementary treatment in addition to conventional medical treatment.” The initial list of disciplines to be regulated includes Hijama (wet cupping) chiropractic, homeopathy, ayurveda and acupuncture.
Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine.
“The regulation of Complementary Medicine by QCHP has been one of the decisions long-awaited by the public in Qatar. However, as our main concern is always patient safety, we wanted to assess the impact of this decision before beginning the official implementation”, said QCHP’s Acting CEO, Dr. Samar Aboulsoud.
The QCHP board has already approved a regulatory framework for the practice of complementary medicine in Qatar and an implementation plan has been developed for early this year.
An ad-hoc advisory committee was set up to review the regulatory framework, compile scientific evidence related to the regulation, safety and efficacy of CM practices, measure the scientific impacts and provide facts and figures related to the usage and impact of CM in Qatar.
“We wanted to address all our concerns to have a solid ground about the existence of scientific studies on the impact of CM. Moreover, the concept of “complementary” medicine will be adopted rather than alternative & complementary medicine to guarantee that patients will receive complementary treatment in addition to conventional medical treatment,” added Dr Aboulsoud.
The regulatory framework will standardise the CM practice so that only licensed, qualified practitioners will be issued a medical license and allowed to practice in Qatar. It will also provide a legal framework to CM to ensure that the benefits of these practices could be enjoyed without unnecessary risks.
The Registration Department at QCHP is in the process of analysing the current situation and is working extensively to create a specially customized transitional plan that will provide a roadmap for the existing practitioners, said a statement yesterday.
Once the approved regulatory frame work is enforced, all CM practitioners will be given two months grace period to rectify their status in terms of qualification, experience and training. They can then apply online for registration and for obtaining a licence to practice in Qatar.
This will be followed by a 10 month period for correcting the status of practitioners, if needed, to make sure all practitioners will have fulfilled all the requirements by that time, said the QCHP.
SCH will hold a series of workshops to raise public awareness about important facts regarding complementary medicine, its history, impacts and how it is regulated around the world.