What is Philippine Integrative Medicine?


INAM’s concept of Philippine Integrative Medicine (PIM) is that it is an awareness, a consciousness of viewing health as a state of total well-being resulting from the interplay of socio-economic, political and spiritual aspects of life. Basic to this consciousness is the understanding that health is a fundamental human right and responsibility of the individual and, collectively, of the community.

The relationship among those who uphold this consciousness is characterized by partnership, of one among equals, being interdependent and mutually transformative of each other. The practice of PIM is expressed with the values of respect, equality, participation, responsibility, interdependence, solidarity, mutuality and openness.

This PIM consciousness adheres to the integration of different systems of medicine based on empirical and scientific knowledge, rooted in the culture of the people. Such an integrated system addresses the health problems in the community through promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services, which are accessible, affordable, available, effective and acceptable to the people.

PIM, as an evolving consciousness, emphasizes the direct, responsible and sustained participation of people in the development of their alternative health care systems, an indicator of the fulfillment of their aspiration for self-determination.

The Work Ahead

INAM needs to bring into scientific footing and integration the rich heritage of diverse traditional and ethno-medicine and combine these with the most appropriate of conventional medicine and other existing health systems. Such an approach is justified by the fact that Filipino culture is a mixture of East and West.

The work ahead can be realized through INAM’s partnership with non-government/civil society organizations (NGOs) that assist People’s Organizations (POs) and their communities.

INAM’s Tasks with Partners

INAM will facilitate participatory research by the community to help systematize these practices, unfolding PIM management (“best practice”) of their top five (5) disease conditions. The results of PIM research shall be the basis for developing PIM training programs and services of other organized community health programs.

Monitoring the effects and impacts of PIM management of common conditions using prospective clinical outcome
how PIM can become a part of AHCS
how practice of PIM increases people’s access to essential services
how PIM has empowered people and communities

Networking activities such as workshops on Best Practices in PIM and AHCS will create a venue for people-to-people exchange of experiences in PIM and AHCS and consensus building on the management of disease conditions commonly affecting their respective communities.

Health service providers such as INAM, UDI, CBHPs, other NGOs, can become part of the referral system of the communities for services and training. INAM will develop its full potential of integrating healing practices, such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), indigenous healing, and conventional medicine, for disease prevention and health promotion.

PIM Advocacy

INAM views its engagement from a perspective that PIM will be an integral part of a sustainable alternative health care system. INAM also hopes that the insights/lessons learned from the above could be shared among partners towards policy development and broad-based social change.

INAM upholds and promotes the principles of the People’s Charter for Health:

  • The attainment of the highest possible level of health and well-being is a fundamental human right, regardless of a person’s color, ethnic background, religion, gender, age, abilities, sexual orientation or class.
  • The principles of universal, comprehensive Primary Health Care (PHC), envisioned in the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration, should be the basis for formulating policies related to health.
  • Now more than ever an equitable, participatory and inter-sectoral approach to health and health care is needed.
  • Governments have a fundamental obligation to ensure universal access to quality health care, education and other social services according to people’s needs, not according to their ability to pay.
  • The participation of people and people’s organizations is essential to the formulation, implementation and evaluation of all health and social policies and programs.
  • Health is primarily determined by the political, economic, social and physical environment and should, along with equity and sustainable development, be a top priority in local, national and international policy-making.

INAM echoes the Charter’s call on peoples of the world to:

  • Demand transformation of the World Trade Organization and the global trading system so that it ceases to violate social, environmental, economic and health rights of people and begins to discriminate positively in favor of countries of the South.
  • In order to protect public health, such transformation must include intellectual property regimes such as patents and the Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.
  • Demand the cancellation of Third World debt.
  • Demand radical transformation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund so that these institutions reflect and actively promote the rights and interests of developing countries.
  • Demand effective regulation to ensure that TNCs do not have negative effects on people’s health, exploit their workforce, degrade the environment or impinge on national sovereignty.
  • Ensure that governments implement agricultural policies attuned to people’s needs and not to the demands of the market, thereby guaranteeing food security and equitable access to food.
  • Demand that national governments act to protect public health rights in intellectual property laws.
  • Demand the control and taxation of speculative international capital flows.
  • Insist that all economic policies be subject to health, equity, gender and environmental impact assessments and include enforceable regulatory measures to ensure compliance.
  • Challenge growth-centered economic theories and replace them with alternatives that create humane and sustainable societies.
  • Economic theories should recognize environmental constraints, the fundamental importance of equity and health, and the contribution of unpaid labor, especially the unrecognized work of women.
  • Support, recognize and promote traditional and holistic healing systems and practitioners and their integration into Primary Health Care.
  • Demand changes in the training of health personnel so that they become more problem-oriented and practice-based, understand better the impact of global issues in their communities, and are encouraged to work with and respect the community and its diversities.
  • Demystify medical and health technologies (including medicines) and demand that they be subordinated to the health needs of the people.
  • Demand that research in health, including genetic research and the development of medicines and reproductive technologies, is carried out in a participatory, needs-based manner by accountable institutions. It should be people- and public health-oriented, respecting universal ethical principles.
  • Support people’s rights to reproductive and sexual self-determination and oppose all coercive measures in population and family planning policies.
  • This support includes the right to the full range of safe and effective methods of fertility regulation.
  • Build and strengthen people’s organizations to create a basis for analysis and action.
  • Promote, support and engage in actions that encourage people’s involvement in decision-making at the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation phases of public services at all levels.
  • Demand that people’s organizations be represented in local, national and international fora that are relevant to health.
  • Support local initiatives towards participatory democracy through the establishment of people-centered solidarity networks across the world.

PIM Impact

This will make ‘Health in the Hands of the People’ and ‘Health for All’ progressively a reality for the Filipinos.