Organized by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), the 2nd International Traditional and Complementary Medicine (GETAT) Congress started under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey.
In her inaugural speech, Emine Erdogan said “We welcome to base the traditional and complementary medicine on a scientific foundation. It is vital that traditional medicine practices are carried out by experts at the modern facilities. There is a misunderstanding both in the scientific world and in the public that such practices are out of date. As you know, this Congress is not an alternative to the mainstream approaches. Because medicine is a whole without any alternatives, and it should deal with the mental and physical health of people in a holistic and integrated approach.”The 2nd International Congress of GETAT started in Istanbul in the theme of “Traditional and Complementary Medicine Practices in Chronic Diseases”. Inaugurated by Ms. First Lady Emine Erdogan, the Congress brought together Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, Minister of Family, Labor and Social Services Zehra Zümrüt Selcuk, Deputy Minister of Health Emine Alp Meşe, Technical Officer at World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe Olexandr Polishchuk, and many scientists and healthcare professionals.
“Our health is defeated by industrialized diets. It systematically kills traditional culinary culture. The comfort provided by modern life has finished the physical activities. The ease of transportation also causes to lose our physical activity. Screen addiction is very common in young people. Excessive alcohol consumption, passive smoking and surrounding chemicals are problems arising from our lifestyles. There is a big difference between the hospital and the old-style healing centers. Hospital implies disease whereas healing center implies healing. Healing is a very important concept and there is no need to be sick to seek healing. It is actually the shield against diseases. Diabetes, for example, is in the category of preventable disease. In the simplest case, the person who wants to get rid of diabetes should stop eating fast-food and return to the home food. This requires reinterpreting the food culture and redesigning the lifestyle. Unfortunately, when we look at the sector, it is clear that there are chemical cocktails that we eat and drink. To understand this, it is sufficient to read the contents of the packages” added Ms. Erdoğan.
“Exploiting people by pushing them to diseases has reached to such an extent that, even in cosmetics, customers are considered sick. Health is the greatest capital of a person. The disease of the soul is transmitted to the body. This is the biggest obstacle in front of people to live properly. If chronic disease persists, life will be nothing but a disease.”
“Throughout history, all cultures and religions have been aware of this responsibility. Almost every society has its own methods to fight against diseases. Traditional medicine, which was previously excluded by the Orthodox medicine and remained in its own sphere of influence, began to find a place even in developed countries. The 2014-2023 strategy envisages integration of these practices into the modern medicine. Practices with proven safety and efficiency are spreading in the light of science. The medical community's approach to traditional medicine was reorganized in 2011 by the legal regulation. We should not ignore the fact that medicine is a human-oriented science and medicine is an art. Trust is the key that can overcome many problems, especially violence. We should provide the environment where the patient and the physician will feel safe. I think societies that feel confident and confidence in science can make much progress. Our ultimate vision is to protect everyone’s right to health and ensure that every individual can easily access to the healthcare services in Turkey. We can only reach this target by mobilizing all our resources without deviating from the light of science” said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.
In his speech, Minister Koca reminded the definition of WHO for traditional medicine as follows: “A combination of knowledge, skills and practices based on different cultures, theories, beliefs and experiences, which are used to prevent, diagnose, heal or treat diseases.”
“Regulation on Clinical Researches in Traditional and Complementary Medical Practices was finalized and published in March to make sure that GETAT practices are based on solid evidence, and clinical and laboratory studies are performed properly and efficiently, and academic studies are launched in this area. According to current legislation, only physicians who receive standard training are authorized to perform traditional medicine practices in Turkey. Trainings are provided in 15 titles including acupuncture, apitherapy, phytotherapy, cup therapy, hirudotherapy (leech therapy), osteopathy, chiropraxia, reflexology, ozone therapy, mesotherapy, maggotterapi (larvae treatment), music therapy, homeopathy, hypnosis and prolotherapy.
As of today, 56 GETAT application centers have been opened in 56 university hospitals in Turkey to carry out R&D and training activities. 3 thousand 350 physicians were awarded GETAT application certificates in these universities. In addition, a total of 910 GETAT units were granted permission to provide such services all over the country.
In the field of GETAT, we want to lay the foundation for sharing knowledge and experience among our physicians who are also not engaged in the legislation development, training and authorization activities. The main theme of our Congress is GETAT applications in chronic diseases. In the Congress, I believe that we will not only focus on the treatment of diseases but also on the prevention of the diseases, blended with the scientific studies.”
There are 139 speakers – 49 of whom are foreign - in the Congress. The Congress is ongoing with the participation of 2 thousand 200 people.
The event will continue for 4 days, and representatives and high-level directors from 20 countries are participating in the Congress.
Paraguay, Romania, Jordan, Mongolia, Somalia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Djibouti are represented by their respective Ministers of Health while Venezuela, Ukraine, Kosovo, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, South Korea, India, South Africa, China, Qatar, Chad, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia are represented by their respective Deputy Ministers of Health.