Pirog Contributes to Unprecedented WHO Terminology Report

John Pirog, MSOM, DiplAc, DiplCH, LAc, worked with a team of scholars from around the world to develop the WHO international standard terminologies on traditional Chinese medicine. “I was part of a team of scholars spread across the globe, each of us working to translate technical terms that until now were the exclusive province of Chinese academics,” explained Pirog. 

The report recognizes the importance of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in global healthcare. Its goal is to promote safe and effect use of TCM by enabling practitioners, policymakers, and patients to understand the same definitions and concepts. “This list of terms makes the full scope of traditional Chinese medical theory available in English for the first time,” shared Pirog.  

The report came out of WHO’s larger project, its 13th General Programme of Work, which aims to support countries in achieving universal health coverage and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. The report states:  

Taking note of the growing importance of traditional medicine in the provision of health care at both the nation and global levels, WHO and its Member States have strived to explore ways to integrate safe and effective traditional and complementary medicines appropriately into national health systems.  

According to WHO, 88% of member states acknowledge the use of traditional and complementary medicine, and TCM is among the most popular.  

The report is a crucial step forward for TCM being fully integrated into global healthcare and was a massive undertaking. “The WHO spent five years translating and defining over 3,000 traditional Chinese medical terms,” shared Pirog. “The scope of this work is unprecedented.”