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Ajman University to Launch Joint Complementary Medicine Projects

A visit made to China by a Complementary delegation from Ajman University of Science & Technology (AUST) has resulted in cooperation initiatives. The visit followed up the trip made to China in September 2009 by His Excellency Dr. Saeed Abdullah Salman, AUST President. The team members visited Beijing University of Chinese (BUCM), where they met Dr. Danying Zhang, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department, and a number of university doctors and faculty members. Dr. Samir Bloukh, who headed the AUST delegation, said that BUCM is considered to be a leading university specializing in Chinese and to have a proven track record in this area. Twenty-one PhD and 26 Masters students had graduated from the programs it offers as well as 30,000 graduates from dozens of countries, including Arab countries. It has also made external initiatives in establishing complementary centers in Germany, Australia, America, Africa and elsewhere.

In reply Dr. Zhang addressing the AUST delegation said that she had visited the AUST website and considered the university to be a major one, having a special weight in the UAE and the Arab world in general. She expressed the willingness of Beijing University to cooperate through the exchange of students and researchers to increase the profile of Chinese medicine. Dr. Danying added that all medical and pharmacy students in China study complementary and traditional medicine for at least half a year during their university study. She also spoke about the fundamental principles of the philosophy of Chinese medicine, indicating that it gives priority to the patient and focuses on what is natural. It follows a preventive system aimed at preventing disease before it occurs through a series of health practices and nutrition systems, and its culture is disseminated across Chinese society.

She stated that most Chinese patients prefer treatment with Chinese medicine. Only a small percentage prefer Western treatment, including in particular young people; this could be attributed to the fact that the new generation prefers to see results quickly and the cost is less because they are more likely to have insurance cover. She indicated that the hospitals managed by Beijing University of Chinese Medicine use both methods – the Western way in diagnosis and the Chinese in treatment. She noted that this does not mean opening up to all types of modern medical practice, but selecting what is in line with the complementary philosophy of Chinese medicine and increases efficiency in the treatment of the patient. Moreover, Dr. Danying added in this regard that the university had already refused partnership offers from Western medical institutions because they were not consistent with the philosophy and vision of Chinese treatment.

Dr. Abdel-Mounim Balla, a member of the AUST delegation, said that the vision of Dr. Saeed Salman is identical to the Chinese approach in terms of openness and the synthesis and blending of the best attributes. Such an attitude makes scientific experiments complementary and benefits mankind. In response to a question raised by Dr. Mohammad Abdul-Latif, Complementary Medicine Center Director at AUST, on the achievements made by Chinese associations that use Chinese and complementary medicine, Dr. Danying said that the introduction of the use of complementary medicine and herbal treatment in dealing with disease is in itself an achievement, noting that until a century ago Chinese acupuncture was the most common medicinal method used, but it treated only a limited number of diseases. Now, however, the number of patients who seek treatment with complementary and herbal medicine is very large and continues to increase by virtue of the results achieved.

Dr. Eman Salman then asked about the acceptability of Chinese researchers introducing alternative medical systems other than those used in China. In reply a BUCM faculty member said that this is not ruled out as long as the systems are effective and beneficial to patients. The two sides then discussed the subject of herbal and complementary pharmacies and China’s successful efforts in convincing insurance companies to acknowledge qualified herbal medical practitioners. This success of BUCM in persuading insurance companies of the effectiveness of complementary medicine is in part due to the spread of awareness and the enthusiasm of patients.

The AUST delegation then toured Chinese herbal and complementary pharmacies and examined patients, seeing some of the processes of treatment in clinics in neighboring compound pharmacies. They also visited one of the three university hospitals managed by Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, as well as Chinese complementary medicine pharmacies, where they learned about the types of medicines provided, whether Chinese or combined Western/Chinese. They also visited the Museum of complementary medicine and learned about medical ingredients used in Chinese medicine. At the end of the Ajman delegation’s visit the two universities agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding at AUST’s Ajman Campus, which will result in joint activities and the exchange of research materials, in addition to student and doctor exchanges. Concluding the visit the two sides exchanged publications and gifts and had a group photograph session.

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