Communicative Challenges in Traditional Chinese Medicine

In the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 report, the World Health Organization discusses the burgeoning yet underestimated popularity of traditional medicine. Recognising that the dominance of western medicine has created unequal structures which reinforce the legitimacy of different healing systems, the report emphasises the importance of understanding the needs and uses of traditional medicines in healthcare systems.

CNM’s Professor Mohan Dutta, PhD candidate Pauline Luk, researchers Lily Lee and Desiree Soh tackle this urgency by establishing a groundbreaking study to examine how decisions made by patients and practitioners help promote Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as a viable means of healing. 25 TCM practitioners (the quintessential sinseh) and 51 TCM patients were interviewed between 2015 and 2016, where they described their practices of applying TCM, common meanings, daily habits of using TCM, concerns in communicating their choices in using TCM, the challenges they experience, and their day-to-day negotiations of these challenges.

The results are instructive. They reveal that both culture and structure can either complement or challenge the use of traditional medicine in Singapore’s multi-ethnic society. Patients, TCM practitioners, doctors trained in western medicine and the general public participate in the negotiation of TCM, constituted amid cultural constructions of TCM, and are guided by the overarching structure of healthcare in Singapore. Significantly, communication continues to play a critical role in shaping interpretations and understanding the key concepts and uses of TCM.

In a broader climate that privileges bio-medicine, the study demonstrates the advantage of underpinning policy decisions on TCM to conversations that are already taking place on the ground. This would help encourage collaboration between doctors trained in Western medicine and TCM practitioners, thus improving patient access to care in a distinctly local context of multiple healing traditions.

Do you use TCM in your life? Why not extend your thoughts here? If you need more information on this important research, reach out to us.

Research Talk – Social Marketing in India and Afghanistan: A Comparison

Dr. Sandeep Ghiya will be giving a research talk titled “Social Marketing in India and Afghanistan: A Comparison”, on 18 April 2017 (Tuesday). The talk will be held at the CNM Meeting Room, from 10 AM to 11 AM.

Abstract: The proposed talk will focus on experiences with Project Saksham in Uttar Pradesh, India and a consultancy with ASMO in Afghanistan.

Project Saksham was a four year project implemented by DKT India for the Futures Group led ITAP Project for USAID. The project aimed to promote oral contraceptive pills and condoms in rural villages, with a focus on C and D category villages with population between 1,000 and 4,999.

The Afghan Social Marketing Organization (ASMO) is a USAID supported Afghan managed organization operating across Afghanistan, promoting oral contraceptive pills, condoms, injectable contraceptives, oral rehydration salts, iron folic acid tablets and chlorine safe water solution.

The talk will provide brief overviews of the two projects, followed by a detailed discussion on the various means of interpersonal and mass communications that were employed to reach out to the target population in both projects. The similarities in approaches will be pointed out, along with a discussion on the differences. The challenges and drawbacks of both projects will be highlighted, along with a comparison of the geopolitical and other challenges faced in the two projects, inclusive of the difficulties in logistics and sales operations.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Sandeep Ghiya has been working on reproductive health issues with a focus on contraception for over 18 years. He has been especially interested in the marketing and usage of provider-dependent contraceptives and the promotion of all forms of contraception in rural areas. Dr. Ghiya has worked on the design, implementation and documentation of various projects to promote family planning at international, national and regional levels with projects focused on India, Afghanistan, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia and Burkina Faso. He has provided consultancy to projects for clients ranging from Family Planning Association of India, DFID, USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Concept Foundation, Palladium and Abt Associates. With post graduate degrees in public health and marketing management, he has been an active participant in the marketing of contraception in India. Dr. Sandeep Ghiya has also been a visiting faculty member at management colleges for marketing and general management related subjects.


Venue: AS6, 03-33, CNM Meeting Room
Date:  18 April 2017 (Tuesday)
Time: 10 AM – 11 AM