Vanuatu Participated in the Forum on Traditional Chinese Medicine and International Cooperation to Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic
2021-04-01 17:39

The Forum on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and International Cooperation to Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic was held on March 30 via video link. Chinese Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. Officials from 28 countries and regions including Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishina, as well as representatives and experts of the World Health Organization, attended the forum on the theme of “Deepen TCM Exchanges and Cooperation, Build a Global Community of Health for All”. Hon. Silas Bule, Minister of Health led the Vanuatu delegation to the Forum.

In her opening remarks, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan emphasized, “As a treasure of the Chinese nation, TCM has been deeply involved in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to formulation of eight versions of treatment protocols combined with Western medicine. A batch of TCM medicines and prescriptions have proven to be effective in practice.” “China shares its experience in pandemic prevention, control and treatment with TCM without reservation, and is willing to work with other countries to deepen cooperation in terms of the basic theory, clinical efficacy and international standards of TCM, so as to promote complementary advantages and mutual learning in traditional and modern medicine, serving the health and well-being of humankind,” she added.

Hon. Bule gave a keynote speech on traditional medicine of Vanuatu, Vanuatu-China TCM cooperation and suggestions for cooperation on TCM in the future. He said, “Traditional medicine in Vanuatu has its roots in antiquity. Many Ni-van people trust and practice the traditional medicine. But there is currently a lack in traditional medicine documentation and scientific research directed at understanding the bio-active components and mechanism. Hence, in order to explore the full potential of traditional medicine, Vanuatu has already included it in its Health Sector Strategic Plan for the next 10 years.”

Minister Bule said, “Over the last few years, Vanuatu has had some exposure to TCM with various products now available in the local markets. Acupuncturists have been among the doctors of the Chinese medical teams based in two major hospitals in Vanuatu. Many Ni-van citizens have benefited from their service. After the COVID-19 outbreak, health officials and experts of Vanuatu have had opportunities to exchange information and experience with Chinese counterparts on pandemic response, including the role of TCM in China’s fight against COVID-19. We also had a virtual meeting with a Chinese pharmaceutical company to discuss the possibility of officially introducing TCM drugs to Vanuatu in order to help with Vanuatu’s COVID-19 response and health undertakings in general. All these have improved our understanding of TCM and laid a good foundation for future exchanges and cooperation.”

In conclusion, Minister Bule appreciated China as a pioneer in traditional medicine practice with its history dating back thousands of years, adding that Vanuatu has a lot to learn from China’s rich history and knowledge on traditional medicine. He went on to say, “It is for this potential benefit that we recommend, as a future direction, that a research collaboration endeavor between the two countries be initiated to enable exchange of expertise, ideas and knowledge for the mutual benefits of both countries. We congratulate China for taking a leading role in developing and using TCM in combating COVID-19 in China and internationally. We hope that many other countries will see this as a solution to the prevailing presence of this Pandemic globally and developing their own individual legal framework to allow this special brand of TCM into their own Countries to assist them in their efforts in controlling and managing COVID-19.”

All participants in the Forum recognized that TCM has played a positive role in combating COVID-19, supported the further use and application of traditional medicine in the global fight against COVID-19, and agreed to further strengthen international cooperation for the development of traditional medicine. Initiative on Supporting the Application of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Global Fight Against COVID-19 was jointly released during the Forum.