Traditional Chinese medicine has role to play in managing chronic conditions in S'pore: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE – Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has a role to play in managing chronic conditions here and the Ministry of Health (MOH) will continue to support the sector, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Sunday (Dec 12).

Speaking in Mandarin at an event at Raffles City Convention Centre to mark the 75th anniversary of the Singapore Chinese Physicians’ Association, Mr Ong thanked all TCM associations and practitioners for their support and cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 over the last two years.

“As trusted healthcare providers to your patients, you have been able to persuade and encourage your patients, especially the elderly, to receive the Covid-19 vaccinations and booster. Every vaccination could be a life saved,” he said.

Mr Ong added that while the biggest enemy today is Covid-19, the rise in incidence of chronic diseases will always be a constant healthcare challenge.

“When it comes to chronic diseases, all doctors, regardless whether you are a Chinese, Indian or Western doctor, know that prevention is better than cure. This means leading a healthy lifestyle, having a good diet, and staying happy and optimistic,” he said.

A similar concept was already reflected more than 2,000 years ago in the ancient Chinese medical text Emperor’s Canon Of Internal Medicine, which recommended a balanced diet and work-life balance, said Mr Ong.

He added that there is a need to recognise that TCM is a complete set of medical knowledge and practice, with a history of several thousand years and an important part of Chinese cultural heritage.

Mr Ong highlighted that MOH has already taken several steps to support the TCM sector, including two multimillion-dollar grants launched previously.

In 2018, a $5 million grant was launched to support TCM clinics in upgrading their clinics and IT facilities, as well as in continuing professional education, among other things. In 2014, $8 million was pledged to support research collaborations between Western doctors and TCM practitioners.

Two workgroups were also appointed this month to explore, among other issues, how to enhance clinical training for new practitioners.

Noting that Singapore now faces the threat of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, Mr Ong added: “I hope to continue to count on the support of the TCM community to overcome challenges that may come our way.”

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