PUBLIC Health Minister, Volda Lawrence, wants to push joint research activities in the use of alternative or folk medicine between Guyana and China using this country’s “untapped resources” in the Amazon.
Lawrence told a Chinese delegation during a courtesy call at her office Monday, that Guyana has vast resources in the Amazon which covers eight million square kilometres covering much of northwestern Brazil, extending into Colombia, Peru and other South American territories.
As the single largest remaining tropical rainforest in the world and housing some 10 percent of the world’s known biodiversity, Lawrence told Huang Yuanzheng, Vice Mayor of the populous city of Lianyungang, that she is looking forward for a pact between Guyana and China to establish a research laboratory utilising the rich flora and fauna of the Amazon.
“China has a lot to offer after blazing the trail for the last 300 years,” Lawrence told Huang whose country has popularised the use of folk medicine, as part of the regimen, offered patients a variety of ‘bush’ medicine and is one of the most populous countries on the Asian Continent.
Since taking over the public health portfolio almost a year now, Minister Lawrence has been exploring ways of guaranteeing the acceptance of local alternative, folk or traditional medicine “within the governmental structure”.
“China has a huge advantage in the use of traditional medicine,” Mayor Huang said.
Traditional Chinese medicine is a broad range of medicine practices sharing common concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise and dietary therapy.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines traditional medicine as ‘the sum of the total knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis improvement of treatment of physical and mental illness.’
The global health agency has highlighted the difference between alternative medicine and quackery, noting that “inappropriate use of traditional medicine” can be harmful to users.
Guyana and China established diplomatic relations in 1972 and both Lawrence and Mayor Huang spoke of deepening their ties, strengthening their bonds and pushing for “better understanding of each other” in the words of Huang who is Vice Mayor of a city more than five times the population of Guyana.
He was elated Monday that both Prime Minister and First Vice President, Mr. Moses Nagamootoo, and Minister Lawrence spoke glowingly of the contributions of Chinese medical specialists in the local health sector.
Lawrence said the Chinese doctors expertise has helped reduce maternal deaths nationwide in the last two years. Public Health Ministry statistics shows that maternal death fell from 111 per 100,000 in 2015 to 101 per 100,000 last year.
This is “no doubt because of the input of your doctors”, Lawrence told the 11-person delegation when they met at her Brickdam, Georgetown office.
The following were part of the delegation accompanying Mayor Huang on Monday – Mr. Xiaoming Li, of the No.1 Hospital; Mr. Hui Shi, of the No. 2 Hospital; Mr. Wei Zhou, Director of the Health Bureau and Mr. De Yong Fan, Director of International Exchange.
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