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Doctor: Stop resisting alternative medicine

Published:Monday | November 24, 2014 | 11:00 AM
Dr Sonia Davidson

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

AGITATING FOR more than 16 years for the Government to set up a proper legislative and regulatory framework for complementary or alternative medicine in Jamaica, general practitioner Dr Sonia Davidson said it is time those in conventional medicine who are strenuously resisting this burgeoning discipline "emancipate themselves from mental slavery".


She said, with the recent onset of chikungunya, locally, it appears that conventional medicine could do very little to assuage the onslaught of the painful disease and Jamaicans hit by the severe discomfort rushed to ease their agonising joint pains and headaches with a plethora of alternative medicines.

There have been several reports of persons who have turned to local herbs and other forms of 'cures' to relieve the effects of chikungunya.

"You know what I said to a member of the Ministry (of Health) the other day, I am so glad for the chikungunya because we say we can't do anything about it and people are fed up with Panadol, so what are they going to do? They resort to personal care or they go to the people who are not trained in conventional medicine. They may get better or they may not get better, but the point is, this is a good example of why we have to deal with these people and not ignore them," she said.

Untrained 'Practitioners' Dangerous

While acknowledging the need to urgently set up proper systems and facilities to treat the dreaded Ebola if it comes to the island, Davidson, who is also a public-health specialist, suggested that untrained 'practitioners' in alternative medicine may be "killing more people than Ebola will".

She stressed that some shocking things have happened with untrained persons using alternative medicine and there is nobody to go to for help. "You can't even go to the ministry, because there is nobody in there who knows whether they do the right thing or not, they don't know," she lamented.

"When you have a council (for alternative medicine) you will have a chiropractor who will know whether this is a genuine medical error - medical errors do happen - or whether this is malpractice."

Chiropractors, who fall under the category of complementary medicine, focus on the diagnosis and treatment of neuromuscular disorders, with an emphasis on treatment through manual and manipulative therapy for treatment of joint dysfunctions.

"I have heard of people injecting lidocaine into people's knee and they don't go any medical school and people knee mash up and a whole heap of problem," she pointed out.

Lidocaine is used on different parts of the body to cause numbness or loss of feeling for patients having certain medical procedures.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com