The Verbania Declaration 2004
We agree that a healthy population
is an important human and social goal in every society. Attaining such a
goal is not only the responsibility of doctors, specialists, and those
involved in the health sector, but of every individual in our societies
and all sectors in the economy. That aim of a healthy society must become
a reality as a result of a collective effort to address both the material
and spiritual dimensions of health.
We embrace the view that we are one
global society within this precious and fragile Planet. That there is only
one world and we must be one with nature and our natural environment. That
we are strongly interdependent in all possible dimensions of life and we
must strive for societies that are happy, healthy and holy, all being
normal states of our human reality. That a World Congress on medicine
cannot be divorced from, or be understood as, separate from those states
of human reality.
We conclude that the primordial
essence of medicine –i.e., its ability to cure and heal humanity-- is
deeply rooted in love and compassion. This heightens the need to
self-realize love and compassion and brings to the fore the necessity to
recognize the importance of embracing a spiritual culture (energy) and,
with it, a spiritual medicine in every society. These spiritual dimensions
are essential if we all are to avoid the negative side effects of existing
We agree that acting only upon the
symptoms of human illnesses, as they manifest physically, is not
sufficient. It is important to detect diseases much before they manifest
physically, as a result of multiple conditions people face since
conception (within the mother’s womb). It is this interplay of symptoms
(physical and non-physical) and conditions (natural and human environment)
that must be carefully studied and monitored.
We recognize the fundamental
importance of indigenous peoples and indigenous knowledge, particularly
within developing countries, though these are present everywhere.
Indigenous peoples’ understanding of traditional medicine is an invaluable
asset for humanity as a whole and to future generations. They have been
custodians of our Planet and have created many positive conditions for the
healthy transformation of humanity. They have greatly emphasized the need
to improve the quality of our natural environment, the protection of our
biological diversity and the management of socioeconomic development
We see clearly the need to
break-down the negative aspects of, and vicious circle associated to, some
negative habitual patterns in our societies (e.g., violence, drug and
alcohol abuse). Therefore, it is imperative that we move away from any
form of self-destructive way of life. More often than not, these patterns
respond to deeper and more subtle conditions in our lives that must be
acknowledged, if people are to experience healthy and holy lives. Finding
ways to change existing behavioral patterns (personal, social, global) is
not trivial, as we need to go to the real roots in our understanding of
the causes and conditions.
We realize, once again, the great
importance of education for better health. Here, education is understood
not only as classroom, or formal, education but as a process of constantly
embracing new forms, processes, instruments and methods that significantly
contribute to the enhancement of peoples’ health, including those who lack
material resources, power and voice. Education must be holistic and
oriented towards meaningful human experiences and self-realization. A
doctor matures as more experience excels in a continuum of human
interactions and transformations. New technology should positively
reinforce the above processes.
We believe in the importance of
integrating traditional medicine and complementary and alternative
medicine within national health care systems. It is important to design
and implement corresponding polices and programs. These include expanding
research and knowledge base and seriously considering enhancing the
availability, quality and affordability. The above will alleviate the
burden of diseases, disabilities and suffering afflicting so many people,
particularly poor people.
We recommend more solid and
sustainable forms of financing so that more people are attended, and
societies are able to address issues from human health –particularly of
women and children-- to the protection of medicinal plants. These demand
new forms of partnerships with the public and private sector and all
organizations of civil society, nationally and internationally.
We support programs to train
medical personnel and strengthen existing health care systems. The
importance of the ethical and moral dimensions of medicine must be
recognized as an integral part of any, or all, capacity building programs.
The humanization of treatments and the reaching out for those who have no
means to reach medical services are essential.
We recognize all the public
authorities of the Region of Piemonte, the VCO Province, the City of
Verbania, the Municipality of Bee, The Comunita Montana (Alto Verbano),
The Ordine dei Medici, The Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment,
The Banca Populare di Intra and all other sponsors, without whom this
World Congress on Traditional and Integrated Medicine could not have taken
place. Their human and material contributions demonstrated to be
invaluable for the success of this World Congress.
Verbania, May 30, 2004