Urge BC Ministry of Health Approval of TCM in Fight Against COVID-19 (请省卫生厅批准中医参与抗新冠肺炎行动)
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic spreads across Canada since March 1, 2020. Due to the increased number of confirmed cases each day and the high infection rate of this disease, it is causing chaos and endangering lives of many Canadians. The federal government has issued orders attempting to contain this outbreak which has changed the ways Canadians interact socially and economically. In BC, both the provincial and the municipal government have declared the state of emergency.
But the containment for COVID-19 has yet to see the plateau on the infection curve and the number of confirmed cases continuous to grow exponentially. The BC Ministry of Health, due to the health and safety bylaws and regulations, has not supported the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture in the fight against COVID-19, even though there are many reports of success of TCM and Acupuncture intervention from China, Italy, and other countries. Because the graveness of the situation, we, on behalf of the TCM and Acupuncture communities in BC, urge the BC Ministry of Health to consider expanding the role of TCM and Acupuncture professionals to support the fight against COVID-19 for the following reasons:
1. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture has accumulated thousands of years of clinical knowledge and treatment methodologies fighting against epidemic diseases
With over thousands of years of clinical experience of combating infectious diseases, TCM and Acupuncture has formed a complete theoretical system and clinical treatment methodologies. This wealth of knowledge has continuously been evolved and documented, provides fundamental basis to address infectious diseases encountered such as SARS in 2003 or COVID-19 that is currently wrecking havoc across the globe in 2020.
2. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture has its unique advantage when combating newly discovered infectious diseases.
TCM’s treatment principles are based on balancing functions of a human body not exterminating viruses. Thus, it has distinctive advantages to be able to address newly encountered diseases when vaccines are not available. According to the clinical reports released by the medical expert teams in Wu Han, China, integration of Western Medicine together with TCM and Acupuncture has been evaluated as the best treatment strategy against COVID-19. Using modalities such as Chinese herbal formulas, acupunctures, or other forms, the medical expert teams in China had demonstrated TCM and Acupuncture to relieve and to mitigate the symptoms caused by COVID-19; thereby, preventing the disease from mild stage to progress further into severe/critical stage. The medical expert teams reported shorten recovery period, better body reconditioning in the recovery stage, and declined mortality rate. In addition, not only is the cost of the TCM and Acupuncture treatment are way less than the cost for the Western Medical treatment, because of its high treatment efficacy for patients with mild symptoms, it reduced the number of patients having to visit the hospitals, saving more medical resources for patients in severe/critical stage. Thus, incorporating TCM and Acupuncture as part of the treatment strategies will lessen the strain of the BC medical health system.
3. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture compliment Western Medicine in this epic fight against COVID-19.
Specific medication for COVID-19 is yet to be available and the research for effective vaccine for this novel virus is also still months or years away from being approved. Even though there are several anti-viral medications may help, the current options from the hospital are mostly symptoms suppression and supportive therapies. The one and only best cure is the patient’s self immune system. TCM, on the other hand, can compliment with the hospital treatment options to optimize the protective mechanism to fight this deadly disease. Based from the evidence from China’s battle with COVID-19, integration of Western Medicine together with TCM and Acupuncture will be the best options for BC.
4. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture interventions are the best treatment options in BC for patients either in quarantine or in the recovery stage.
Due to the shortage of the test kits, personal protective equipment, ventilators, hospital beds, and hospital staff, not every presumptive case can be treated in the hospital. Patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms are asked to isolate themselves and do self-care at home. This is the best time for TCM intervention. Although subjected to the rules of social distancing, the TCM and Acupuncture professionals, utilizing tele-medicine approach via either telephone, video conferencing or other virtual remote tools, are be able to perform TCM diagnosis and prescribe herbal formulas. This treatment will relieve the COVID-19 symptoms and to inhibit the disease from further progressing into severe/critical stage. When patients are recovering, TCM and Acupuncture professionals can also re-condition the patients’ health and shorten their recovery times. By approving TCM and Acupuncture to intervene this infectious disease when it is at mild stage will reduce the number of hospital visits to prevent overloading of the BC health care system.
5. Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture have a broad base of acceptance by the BC public.
BC, as the first province to regulate TCM and Acupuncture as a medical health profession, has accumulated significant number of British Columbians depending on it to improve their health and their quality of life. The treatment methodologies such as acupuncture, herbal formula, gua sha, cupping or moxibustion are familiar to many British Columbians. Therefore, we believe offering TCM and Acupuncture for COVID-19 patients with either mild symptoms or in the recovery stage will gain acceptance that allows us, TCM and Acupuncture professionals, to contribute our part helping the BC medical health system to regain control of this epidemic disease.
With the approval from the BC Ministry of Health, we, the TCM and Acupuncture professionals in BC, will take on this challenge to mobilize our resources, develop provincial-wide treatment protocols, and to organize number of medical treatment teams to meet the needs of the COVID-19 patients in quarantine and in the recovery stage. We will also invite the members of the TCM medical expert teams working at the front line during the outbreak in Wu Han, China to provide consultations and to share experiences to overcome this challenging time.
Therefore, we plead to organizations, communities, unions, government departments, and all the British Columbians, to please support this noble cause to advocate the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture to serve the BC public to the fight with this pandemic. By utilizing all weapons against COVID-19 - we know we can beat it!
Home of Canadian TCM Society 加拿大中医之家
Mar. 29, 2020
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