Scientific American: WHO gives the nod to Traditional Chinese Medicine (2)

4 April, 2019

Dear colleagues

I think many people misunderstand the function of the International Classification of Diseases. It exists mainly to provide a clear and systematised 'language' of codes so that health-related data can be efficiently collected, communicated and analysed. Its contents have no bearing on the effectiveness of any particular treatment for any health condition.

As I understand it, TCM is widely used among the 1.4 billion residents of China. To me it seems entirely appropriate, and even somewhat tardy, for WHO to recognise the need for a systematic classification to support the related information systems.

Best wishes,

Myer Glickman

DOI: I am a member of the WHO's Mortality Reference Group for ICD.

HIFA Profile: Myer Glickman is Head of Life Events Modernisation at the UK Office for National Statistics; National Coordinator of UK-Africa Health Partnership ( which is the UK group of the Afro-European Medical & Research Network, AEMRN (; and Consultant Statistician of AEMRN. He has been a consultant to the Department of Health (England) on several information development projects, and also has a visiting position as Associate Professor in Public Health at Chreso University, Lusaka, Zambia. His professional interests include health statistics/demography/population epidemiology generally, and specifically socio-economic health inequalities, community health improvement in sub-Saharan Africa, and improvement of health information systems.

Email: myer.glickman AT