Evidence based Response to WHO BBC Attack on Homeopathy

Posted in August 2009

VoYS is an aggressive anti-homoeopathy lobby that have well documented funding connections to pharmaceutical companies. 

We the undersigned are outraged at the way the World Health Organization has allowed itself to be coerced by the Sense About Science Voices of Young Science into condemning the use of homoeopathy in developing countries.

This condemnation comes after what appears to be blind acceptance by WHO of the contents of a single letter from ‘young scientists’ living in the UK in June. VoYS is an offshoot of Sense About Science an aggressive anti-homoeopathy lobby that have well documented funding connections to pharmaceutical companies.

WHO appears to have made no efforts at all to establish the veracity of the claims of VoYS or to check with the homoeopaths in the named countries on what they are doing, their treatment policies or the results they are having in treating patients with a wide range of conditions.

There is an increasing body of evidence in favour of homoeopathy’s effectiveness.  The respondents from WHO’s various departments, in their rush to fulfill the ‘Young Scientists’ request to condemn homoeopathy, apparently are not aware of, or have chosen to overlook, the positive results of many research studies.

  • A recent high quality trial by the prestigious, WHO qualified facility, the Finlay Institute in Cuba, involving two and a half million people, found homoeopathy to be extremely effective in the prevention of Leptospirosis (Dr. Concepción Campa Huergo report to Finlay Institute ‘Nosodes 2008 conference’ December 2008, to be published).
  •  A trial conducted by Quebec homoeopathy organization in partnership with McGill University in Honduras found homoeopathy effective in preventing and treating parasitic Chagas disease (Martine Jourde report to Finlay Institute ‘Nosode 2008 conference’ December 2008).
  • Three studies that show homoeopathy is effective in the treatment of child hood diarrhea. Furthermore, counter to the uninformed claim of Joe Martines, on behalf of Dr Elizabeth Mason, Director, WHO Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, rehydration was included in the protocol of the trials (See below).
  • A pilot study in Ghana showing homoeopathic treatment equal to and slightly more effective than chloroquine in the treatment of acute malaria (Br Homoeopath J 1996 Apr;85(2):66-70).
  • The Stanford study treating tuberculosis in HIV patients resulted in significant improvement in patients receiving homeopathic immunotherapy (Stanford, Comm Br Hom Res Grp Dec 1992 22 30-9).

Furthermore, the WHO department directors have ignored the rich and well documented history of homoeopathy’s success in treating major worldwide epidemics of cholera, influenza (including the 1918 epidemic), yellow fever and many other serious epidemics. Homoeopathy has a well developed approach to epidemics which mean homoeopaths can respond rapidly to an epidemic infectious disease.  In light of these and more studies of homoeopathy and the extreme challenge of emerging drug resistant epidemics in developing countries, it is cause for wonder why WHO itself has not sponsored research into homoeopathy treatment.

Homoeopaths operate in a complementary way to conventional medicine, they do not recommend stopping any prescribed conventional medicines.  Treatment results of patients in the developing countries where homoeopathy is used are impressive. Patients are happier and healthier and despite the constraints of lack of funding from established research foundations, studies are being undertaken and proving homoeopathy’s effectiveness.

In 2005 the World Health Organization proposed an extremely positive report on homoeopathy and its potential in the developing world noting that it is cost effective, has no side effects, and above all is positively health enhancing.  It was only after pressure from critics of Complementary and Alternative medicine to revise it, that the report was held back and despite considerable revision it has still not been published.

The VoYS has issued a press release to the media that widely publicises the statements from the WHO Departmental Heads. VoYS has stated that they will be contacting the Health Ministries of every country to tell them of the opinion of WHO and discourage the use of homoeopathy in order to accomplish their mission to stopping the use of homoeopathy altogether.   VoYS has presented the communication from WHO as a public announcement from WHO and as a way to pressure countries to alter their internal health policies.

Is this the intention of WHO ?  Does WHO condone other organizations speaking and acting on its behalf in such a way??

We have several questions for WHO. 

  • How can you allow your organisation to appear to condemn homoeopathy on the basis of one letter by an antagonistic lobby that receives funding from the pharmaceutical industry and without first checking the facts?
  • How can you reverse your own previous recommendations without verification and dialogue?
  • Why when all over the world doctors, scientists and patients are choosing homoeopathy because of their positive experience in regaining health, does WHO decide to condemn homoeopathy?   How is the WHO statement and the subsequent contact by VoYS to be received by countries such as India, where homoeopathy doctors have a long and respected record of treating all diseases, including epidemics?
  • Why when Ministries of Health in many developing countries have responded to the requests of their own citizens to make homoeopathy a registered medicine, does WHO choose to lend their authority to the dedicated campaign of an anti-homoeopathy group located in the UK?

The citizens of Switzerland recently voted in a national referendum to include homoeopathy as one of their medical choices.  Should the poor sick of Ghana, Botswana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Brazil, Cuba, Thailand and other developing contries, living in rural areas with little or no access to other medicines, be deprived of this safe and affordable choice?   How can WHO allow, through the contents of one arbitrary letter, removal of freedom of choice from the people who need it most?  Is this not an issue of basic human rights?

The VoYS press release, which was further distorted by the BBC, has gone to the media throughout the world under the headline of “WHO Warns Developing Countries against Homoeopathy.” This is a deliberately inflammatory, malicious and false declaration that appears to have the backing of WHO.  As a role model of good health and disease treatment to the world, we appeal to WHO not to let commercial powers and vested interests of a small vocal group influence your stated goal of bringing the “highest possible level of health” to all the people of the world.  

We urge you to reverse your premature and apparently unconsidered condemnation of homoeopathy –a safe, effective and cost-effective therapeutic option for developing countries.

Please give health a chance!
Yours truly

“Homoeopathy cures a larger percentage of cases than any other method of treatment and is beyond doubt safer and more economical and most complete medical science.”  Mahatma Gandhi

3 Research studies childhood diarrhoea: Treatment of acute childhood diarrhoea in Nicaragua
This trial involved 81 children aged from 6 months to 5 years in a randomised, double-blind trial of intravenous fluids plus placebo versus intravenous fluids plus homoeopathic remedy individualised to the patient. The treatment group had a statistically significant decrease in duration of diarrhoea.

Jacobs J. Treatment of acute childhood diarrhoea with homoeopathic medicine: a randomized clinical trial in Nicaragua. Pediatrics 1994; 93: 719-725.

Treatment of acute childhood diarrhoea, repeated in Nepal
In a replication of a trial carried out in Nicaragua in 1994, 116 Nepalese children aged 6 months to 5 years suffering from diarrhoea were given an individualised homoeopathic medicine or placebo. Treatment by homoeopathy showed a significant improvement in the condition in comparison to placebo.

Jacobs J., Jimenez M., Malthouse S., Chapman E., Crothers D., Masuk M., Jonas W.B., Acute Childhood Diarrhoea- A Replication., Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 6, 2000, 131-139.

A meta-analysis of childhood diarrhoea trials
This meta-analysis of 242 children showed a highly significant result in the duration of childhood diarrhoea (P=0.008).

J. Jacobs, WB Jonas, M Jimenez-Perez, D Crothers, Homoeopathy for Childhood Diarrhea: Combined Results and Meta-analysis from Three Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial, The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 22 (3): 229-234, March 2003.

Homeopathic treatment of patients with chronic sinusitis: A prospective observational study with 8 years follow-up  27th July 2009

Witt, Ludtke, Willich.

Homeopathic Individualized Q-potencies versus Fluoxetine for Moderate to Severe Depression: Double-blind, Randomized Non-inferiority Trial
U. C. Adler, N. M. P. Paiva, A. T. Cesar, M. S. Adler, A. Molina, A. E. Padula and H. M. Calil
eCAM Advance Access published online on August 17, 2009

Related link : http://www.homeobook.com/online-resources-research 

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