Disappointment over Chinese medicine practitioners not allowed to operate during MCO period — KLSCAH

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JUNE 22 — Since the government has implemented a full lockdown (FMCO) on June 1, Chinese medicine practitioners were not allowed to operate because they are not within the essential services sector. However, Health Minister Dr Adham Baba has earlier issued the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Regulations 2021 through the Gazette (of the Emergency Ordinance). The opening of appeal applications for traditional and complementary medicine practitioners on March 1 means that the traditional/complementary medicine industry, including Chinese medicine clinics, are all within the scope of public health services.

A view of an empty shopping mall during the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur June 2, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A view of an empty shopping mall during the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur June 2, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) is deeply disappointed at the exclusion of Chinese medicine practitioners from operating during this MCO period.

The government’s restrictions will not only force chronic disease patients to delay their treatments because they cannot receive continuous treatments. This will not only cause adverse effects but also put already limited current medical resources in a constrained condition.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) formulated a plan to integrate modern and traditional medicine in the 1990s, endorsing both practices in the Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023. In 2001, our country introduced the National Policy on Traditional/Complementary Medicine, thereby incorporating traditional medicine into the national healthcare system and coexist side-by-side with modern healthcare.

Nowadays, some government hospitals provide traditional medicine services as an adjuvant to obtain the best medical results. Plenty of medical trials proved the improvement of people’s health and overall quality of life through the combination of traditional/complementary medicine with modern medicine.

In comparison to large hospitals, clinics are not highly crowded. Therefore, the probability of being infected by the virus is lower. Authorities should then allow the Chinese medicine industry to open for business.

With regards to more specified SOPs, the government should refine them, rather than resort to drastic measures. The blanket SOPs solution cuts off patients’ rights to seek help and treatments. This is unreasonable and will not help solve the shortage problem of public medical resources.

In the face of a continuously spreading epidemic, any medical service must be integrated into the public health system to improve the level of medical treatments. KLSCAH hopes that the government properly reviews and reconsiders the decision to restrict the traditional/complementary medicine industry from operating. In preventing any missed chances to the wealth of health, Chinese medicine practitioners should be able to treat patients under proper SOPs.

*This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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