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Creating Waves of Awareness


Mr A Etukudo
Division of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (ATM)
WHO Africa

1stth June 2009
Dear Mr Etukudo

Homeopathy and serious diseases in the developing world: an open letter from early career medics and researchers

We are calling on the WHO to condemn the promotion of homeopathy for treating TB, infant diarrhoea, influenza, malaria and HIV. Homeopathy does not protect people from, or treat, these diseases. Those of us working with the most rural and impoverished people of the world already struggle to deliver the medical help that is needed. When homeopathy stands in place of effective treatment, lives are lost.

Examples of homeopathy being promoted for these diseases include:

• In Kenya, the largest homeopathic supplier, the Abha Light Foundation sells homeopathic medicines for malaria, diarrhoea and influenza. It now runs 20 health centres, 25 mobile clinics and five HIV/AIDS clinics.

• In Tanzania, Jeremy Sherr and Sigsbert Rwegasira run three homeopathic clinics and claim to have government support to establish a school of homeopathy. Rwegasira claims to treat “no less than 100 malaria patients per day.” According to Sherr’s promotional material, “conventional medicine only supplies temporary relief, often at a great cost financially, and with many severe side effects”.

• In Ethiopia, the Amma Resonance Healing Foundation, run by Peter Chappell, offers to treat AIDS patients with “resonance healing in the form of homeopathy”, as “an ideal alternative and complement for the treatment of HIV/AIDS in developing countries” because of “the very low costs of producing the remedy” and because it has “no side effects”.

• In Ghana, the Senya/Tamale Homeopathy Project treats malaria patients with homeopathy.

• In Botswana, the Maun Homeopathy Project offers homeopathic treatment in several locations and mobile clinics for HIV related complaints such as herpes and diarrhoea “for those people who are HIV+ but who are not taking anti-retroviral drugs”.

Many people in developing countries urgently need access to evidence-based medical information and to the most effective means of treating these dangerous diseases. The promotion of homeopathy as effective or cheaper makes this difficult task even harder. It puts lives at risk, undermines conventional medicine and spreads misinformation.

We are sure that you will recognise these dangers and ask that you issue a clear international communication condemning the promotion of homeopathy for treating TB, infant diarrhoea, influenza, malaria and HIV. We are sure, too, that you will recognise the urgency of our request, and look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely

Julia Wilson
On behalf of the Voice of Young Science network
Sense About Science, London
Ms Marianne Baker
PhD Student
Molecular Pathology of Cancer Training Programme, Cancer Research UK
Harriet Ball
PhD Student
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London
Dr Vitor Bernardes Pinheiro
Career development fellow
Medical Research Council UK
Julie Bristow
PhD Student
Working on control of the vector of trachoma, Durham University
Duncan Casey
PhD student
Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London
Dr Meera Cush
The Health Protection Agency
Dr Oliver Fenwick
Research Associate
Department of Physics, University College London
Dr Melissa Friswell
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Deptartment of Clinical Gastroenterology, University of Liverpool.
Dr Melita Gordon
Senior Lecturer and Consultant in Gastroenterology
University of Liverpool Gastroenterology Unit
Previously Research Fellow, College of Medicine, Blantyre, Malawi
Dr Robert Hagan
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Biomolecular Scientist, University of St Andrews
Evelyn Harvey
Biochemist and Medical Writer
Andrew Johnston
Neuroscientist and Geneticist
Dr Tina Kresfelder
Post-doctoral Fellow
Department Medical Virology
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Jennifer Lardge
PhD Student
Department of Physics, University College London

Dr Simnikiwe Mayaphi
MMed (Virology) student
Department of Medical Virology
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Dr Daniella Muallem
Postdoctoral researcher
Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, University College London
Dr Michael Ofori
Research Associate
Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana
Bobby Ramakant
Health and Development Networks Key Correspondent, India
Dr Blanka Sengerová
Postdoctoral researcher
Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford
Juliet Stevens
Medical Student, University of Oxford
Currently on placement at Somerset State Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
Harriet Teare
DPhil Student
Organic Chemistry, University of Oxford
Dr. Marietjie Venter
Senior Lecturer
Department Medical Virology
University of Pretoria, South Africa
Tom Wells
PhD Student
Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London
Patrick Woodburn
PhD Student
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Formerly a medical statistician with the Medical Research Council in Uganda for three years.

Our call for a communication is also supported by the following experts and organisations:
The AIDS Care Watch campaign (ACW) - a civil society partnership of over 400 organizations
Dr NJ Beeching
Senior Lecturer and Clinical Lead in Infectious Diseases
Tropical and Infectious Disease Unit
Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Dr Peter Flegg MD, FRCP, DTM&H
Consultant Physician
Department of Infectious Diseases
Victoria Hospital
Stephen Graham
Associate Professor
Centre for International Child Health
University of Melbourne
Marianne Johnson
AidCamps International
Celina Menezes
President - World Care Council Asia
President - Delhi Mahila Samiti (a women forum of Delhi Network of Positive People)
Dr Alastair Miller MA FRCP DTM&H
Consultant Physician
Tropical & Infectious Disease Unit
Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Beri Gisela Ntam
Strategic Humanitarian Services in Cameroon
Billian Nyuykighan
Program Co-ordinator
Strategic Humanitarian Services in Cameroon
Ndzerem Stephen
Director and Development Analyst
Strategic Humanitarian Services in Cameroon

Signatories are on an individual basis unless otherwise stated

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