Announcing the decision, the QCHP said the approval was delayed because the authorities wanted to ensure that the practice of complementary medicine (CM) would be beneficial to public health.
“The regulation of complementary medicine by QCHP has been one of the decisions long-awaited by the public in Qatar. However, as our main concern is always patient safety, we wanted to assess the impact of this decision before beginning official implementation,” said QCHP’s acting CEO, Dr Samar Aboulsoud.
An ad-hoc advisory committee was set up by the QCHP Board to review the regulatory framework, compile scientific evidence related to the regulation, safety and efficacy of CM practices as well as measure the scientific impact and provide facts and figures in relation to the usage and impact of CM within the country.
The proposed regulatory framework has been approved by the QCHP Board and an implementation plan has been developed for early 2016.
The initial list of scopes that will be regulated includes “Hijama/Wet Cupping, Chiropractic, Homeopathy, Ayurveda and Acupuncture.”
Dr. Aboulsoud said the board wanted to address all concerns and have a solid ground about the existence of scientific studies on the impact of CM before giving the nod to its practice in Qatar. " Moreover, the concept of 'complementary' medicine will be adopted rather than alternative & complementary medicine to guarantee that patients will receive complementary treatment in addition to conventional medical treatment.”
A number of workshops will also be held in the Supreme Council of Health to raise the public’s awareness about important facts regarding complementary medicine, its history, impacts and how it is regulated around the world.
Following the decision, Qatar residents will be able to enjoy the benefits of these practices without unnecessary risks. The regulatory framework will standardise the CM practice so that only licensed, qualified practitioners will be issued a medical license and allowed to practice in the country.
In this regard, the Registration Department at QCHP is in the process of analysing the current situation and is working extensively to create a specially customised transitional plan that will provide a roadmap for the existing practitioners.
Those practitioners will be given a grace period to correct and fix their situation in order to become fully registered and permitted to practice legally in the State of Qatar.
Hijama is the Arabic traditional medicine for wet cupping, where blood is drawn by vacuum from a small skin incision for therapeutic purposes.
Chiropractic is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine, under the belief that these disorders affect general health via the nervous system.
Ayurveda is a system of medicine with historical roots in the Indian subcontinent. Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a key component of traditional Chinese medicine involving thin needles inserted into the body at acupuncture points