Why East equals West when it comes to help in cases of sickness

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 July, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 July, 1999, 12:00am

Almost half of Hong Kong people turn to both Western and Chinese medicine when they are sick, a survey has found.

Tertiary-educated respondents were 10 per cent more likely to use Chinese medicine than the overall figure of 53 per cent.

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions surveyed 832 respondents aged 15 to 64.

Less than six per cent said they would take only Chinese medicine. They believed it strengthened their vitality, cured some incurable or chronic diseases and induced fewer side effects.

People who preferred Western medicine said Chinese medical practitioners' standards varied substantially and monitoring was insufficient. The survey also indicated the older the respondent, the more they were inclined to use Chinese medicine.

The proportion of people who would use both types of medicines - 47.2 per cent - was the same as that for those who would rely solely on Western medicine.

About 85 per cent thought the Government should subsidise the Chinese medicine industry.

Federation chairman Cheng Yiu-tong said: 'We don't mean Chinese medicine should replace Western medicine. They should complement each other.' The federation's Chinese medical practitioner, Tse Siu-ping, said: 'Many people who received cancer electrotherapy and hence suffer loss of hair and appetite take Chinese medicine to speed up the recovery process.'