Complementary and Alternative Medicine Gains Traction with UAE Population

By Inga Louisa Stevens, Contributing Writer

According to the World Health Organisation, homeopathy is the second largest system of medicine in the world and it is practiced in 86 countries and is consumed by over 200 million people globally. The global homeopathy market is expected to reach $31.45 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 14.60 per cent while the homeopathy market in the Middle East & Africa (MENA) is growing the fastest and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.09 per cent during the forecast period (Market Research Future).

“There are many advantages that homeopathy offers to patients, the primary one being holistic treatment, which means it treats a person as a whole and not only on the basis of their external symptoms. Moreover, homeopathy is safe, painless, non-invasive, and treats ailments naturally,” explains Dr. Mukesh Batra, Padma Shri Recipient for Homeopathy and Founder & Chairman Emeritus of Dr Batra’s Group of Companies, with 10 international clinics in five countries including UK, UAE, Bahrain, and Bangladesh.

“Homeopathy, as a complementary medical treatment, is gaining popularity across the world. It is already being integrated into national insurance systems in the UK, UAE and India. It is also being integrated into renowned multi-specialty hospitals like KBMC in Bahrain and Dr Muffi’s Digestive Health Institute in India.”

The UAE Government approved the practice of homeopathy in the country in early 2001 and the UAE Ministry of Health (MOH) recognises and regulates the practice of homeopathy in a systematic way. Both medical doctors and lay practitioners can practice homeopathy provided they clear their MOH exams, which cover both medical science and homeopathy.

According to Dr. Batra, prescribed medicines need to be prepared in accordance with the international pharmacopeia standards and be FDA approved. Similar to traditional medicine, prescribed homeopathic medicines need to be registered with the local pharmacies and the governing bodies. All homeopaths need to follow ICD 10 Coding. i.e. a system used by physicians and other healthcare providers to classify and code all diagnoses, symptoms and procedures recorded in conjunction with hospital care.

Medical practices like Dr. Batra’s undergo regular audits by the local regulatory bodies and also need to provide patient statistics at regular intervals to the UAE MoH.

According to a survey conducted by DHCC, close to 48 per cent of the UAE population has tried complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and close to 55 per cent was happy with the results. The UAE is one of the first countries to include homeopathy within its health insurance system.

“Women in particular are increasingly opting for homeopathic treatment, especially to cure a variety of ailments they suffer during pregnancy, as it provides safe and natural treatment options. Homeopathy has shown remarkable results in treating some of the common illnesses prevalent in UAE including depression, anxiety, stress allergies, and child health ailments,” Dr. Batra says.