Abu Dhabi: Traditional and alternative medicines will come under tighter regulation, according to the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, which hosted a meeting for the World Health Organisation to discuss challenges related to traditional medicine.

The meeting, which was held at the Zayed Complex for Herbal Research and Traditional Medicine, brought together WHO board members and specialists in traditional medicine from the United States, China, UK, Germany, Italy, Australia, Bahrain and Japan, as well as HAAD experts.

Dr Mohammad Abu Al Khair, Adviser for Medical and Pharmaceutical Product Management at HAAD and leader of the team dedicated to traditional medicine, said a large number of patients in the UAE are turning to this kind of treatment.

He added, "One of HAAD's responsibilities is to protect patients from misuse of traditional and alternative medicine. We are keen to eliminate the issue of unqualified practitioners and the uncertified services they might be providing."

Engineer Zaid Al Siksek, Director of Health Policy and Regulation, HAAD, said: "We are working on implementing a number of regulatory policies for all medical specialisations and medical service sectors, which include both alternative and traditional medicine."

He added that health organisations worldwide are faced with the need to develop and apply regulation for traditional medicines.

HAAD's modern regulatory policies will tackle topics related to traditional medicine, including licensing for practitioners and regulation to guarantee safety, efficiency and quality of service.

Dr Mazen Ali Naji, General Manager of the Zayed Complex for Herbal Research and Traditional Medicine, said: "The meeting of the WHO in Abu Dhabi was aimed at highlighting the great technical challenges related to clinical research and evaluation."