The Great Divide (here we go again…)

Last month I received the email reproduced below in several formats and from several sources.

This sort of thing has been going on for 200 years, although now, of course, we have “science” to show that homeopathy is nothing but a delusion/figment/con/insert-other-derogatory-word-here.  So it’s important that there is a robust defence, and a ‘grass-roots’ campaign of representation to the WHO is a perfectly valid approach.  (The template letter presented is well-written and well-researched but it is difficult to see how it can be significantly edited by individuals so that the intended recipients receive a variety of letters in support of homeopathy.)

However, I believe it should be the professional organisations representing homeopaths that carry this out, for the following reasons:

  1. members pay these organisations to represent them and defend their interests.
  2. they purport to be professional organisations, so should carry greater weight than individual supporters.
  3. the boards of these organisations should have the time to prepare coherent statements in defence of homeopathy, clearly pointing out any misunderstanding or errors in the arguments of the detractors, and provide the background information and research to back these up.

Surely, if these organisations collaborate, an even more robust defence of homeopathy as a valid and legitimate form of complementary medicine can be presented?  (Strength in numbers, and all that…)

Email follows:

Dear Homeopathic Colleague,

Homeopathy has suffered a very serious attack. The Voices of Young Science, a UK based group from Sense About Science, dedicated to eliminating homeopathy, sent a letter to the World Health Organization asking WHO to condemn homoeopathy in developing countries, especially in the areas of influenza, childhood diarrhoea, malaria and AIDS. WHO replied last week with statements from various Departmental Heads saying there is no indication of effectiveness of homoeopathy in any of these areas. VoYS has circulated the response of WHO to the media and have amplified the letter as if it is a public announcement from WHO, WHICH IT IS NOT. Additionally, VoYS has stated on its website that it will be contacting the Health Ministries of all countries in the world to let them know about the WHO response and press them to condemn homoeopathy in their country.

The BBC online then spread this false item, as WHO Warns Against Homeopathy Use. They have since apologised and admitted that it was hasty and mistaken in posting the article as an official statement, without checking the facts and without balancing the article with input from official homeopathy organizations, and have changed the headline. But the original BBC version has been picked up by newspapers worldwide and every day more and more online sites and blogs are copying the article.  If we let this go it will be too late, people will believe this dirty trick campaign.

WE ARE ASKING YOU TO DO TWO ACTIONS IMMEDIATELY:

1) PROTEST TO THE BBC AND NEWSPAPERS SPREADING THIS ARTICLE:
Please send emails or letters to the BBC complaint department  AND to other newspapers publishing the statement.  Tell them that this headline is false and BBC has since changed the article.  (Below see: BBC response and list of Media reporting the article)
newsonline.complaints@bbc.co.uk
http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml

2) LAUNCH A MASS PROTEST TO WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION:
It is important that WHO hear from as MANY INDIVIDUALS AS POSSIBLE

  • Read the attached letter which has been sent by  “HOMEOPATHY LIVES!” to WHO.
  • Adapt it to your own wording, while keeping the main points.  It is best to have a variety of letters. Do not forget to sign your name.
  • Send it to one or more of the WHO email addresses below.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS ENTIRE EMAIL TO ALL OF YOUR HOMOEOPATHY CONTACTS. Please blind copy the email addresses and erase the sender email address. Please ask your patients to join the protest.

Just Forwarding is not enough! Make sure to send at least two letters.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE HOMOEOPATHY COMMUNITY AROUND THE WORLD STAND UP AGAINST THIS MALICIOUS ATTACK.

WHY THIS NEEDS YOUR ACTION NOW

If you are living in the US or have no contact with developing countries, you may wonder why this is an important issue for you to act upon. In fact some suggest that no response be made and that we continue to focus our energies on our good work.

However, this attack is different

1. This is a group (VoYS) that is aggressively dedicated to destroying homoeopathy. They have stated this on their website and in their letter to their members announcing the WHO letter. While located in the UK, they are reaching out to all countries. They have tried to influence India and right now they have specifically targeted several homoeopathy projects in Africa. They contact governmental offices, national health ministries, academic medical departments and other organizations in these countries and warn them against homoeopathy using distortion and half truths. They use every means at their disposal to disrupt or end the projects. They have only one goal-to end homeopathy in the world and they are effective and dangerous to homoeopathy.

2. Existing homoeopathy projects will suffer because of these attacks, hindering raising of funds and initiating research. We are a holistic healing community. When one of our practitioners or one location of our profession is attacked, it is an attack against all of us. Just as we would not turn our backs on treating patients with acute attacks of cholera or malaria, who without homeopathic treatment might die, we should not be complacent about this group. This is a serious acute attack and needs a like response.

3. These attacks are coming because homoeopathy is gaining approval and popularity. We must be ready to stand firmly beside the good work that we are doing and be ready to assure that all people, especially those in developing countries, have access to this healing modality. If we do not respond this could affect each and every one of us.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW!

World Health Organization (WHO) Contacts :

  • Director General Dr. Margaret Chan  Media Officer Fadela Chaib  chaibf@who.int

  • Mr A. Etukudo, Division of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at the World Health Organisation’s regional office in Congo, Africa regafro@afro.who.int

  • Dr Elisabeth Mason,  Director Department of Child & Adolescent Health Development masone@who.int

  • Dr Mukund Uplekar, TB Strategy and Health Systems, uplekar@who.int

  • Dr Sergio Spinaci, Associate Director, Global Malaria Programme  spinacis@who.int

  • Dr Mario Raviglione, Director, Stop TB Department Press Contact Glenn Thomas thomasg@who.int

  • Dr Teguest Guerma, Director Ad Interim, HIV/AIDS Department,  Press contact  Valeri Abramov  abramovv@who.int

BBC response to complaint:

Many thanks for your e-mail. We have since updated this report and it now includes two comments putting the case for homeopathy – one referring to treatment for diarrhoea – although we accept that it would have been desirable to have had these in the article earlier.

It became clear from correspondence that some readers found the original headline – WHO warns against homeopathy use – ambiguous, and this has been altered to reflect the fact that people are being urged not to rely on homeopathy.

Best wishes,
BBC News website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml

MEDIA WHO PUBLISHED ORIGINAL BBC ARTICLE

BBC online Homeopathy not a cure, says WHO
BMJ WHO warns against using homoeopathy to treat serious diseases
The Independent Steve Connor: Lack of waves causes ripples of excitement
Kaiser Family Foundation WHO Recommends Against Using Homeopathic Treatments For HIV, TB, Malaria, Influenza, Infant Diarrhea
USA Today WHO warns against homeopathy treatments
Rocket News WHO warns against homeopathy use
Digital Journal Medics Condemn Homeopathic Treatments
Newser WHO Sounds Alarm on Homeopathy
World News Network WHO warns against homeopathy use
Drugs and Diseases Homeopathy not a cure, says WHO
NetDoctor Homeopathy ‘not a cure’ for disease
The Millenium Project WHO does not recommend the use of homeopathy for HIV, malaria, TB, influenza and infant diarrhoea
hc2d.co.uk Homeopathy not recommended by WHO
PharmiWeb.com Homeopathy: No Science, No Proof, No Cure
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation WHO warns against homeopathy use
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation WHO warns against homeopathy use
El Pais, Spain La OMS desaconseja el uso de la homeopatia para el tratamiento del sida o la malaria
NU.nl WHO waarschuwt voor homeopathie
Eesti Paevaleht, Estonia WHO hoiatab HIVi ja malaaria homoopaatilise ravi eest
Helsingin Sanomat, Finland WHO varoittaa homeopaattisista hoidoista
Corriere della Sera, Italy Oms: preoccupazione per la diffusione dellâ omeopatia nel terzo mondo
Delfi, Lithuania Pasauline sveikatos organizacija ispeja del homeopatijos naudojimo
Polskie Radio, Poland WHO ostrzega przed homeopatia
Journal of Turkish Weekly WHO warns against homeopathy use
The Times of India Homeopathy doesn’t help in HIV, TB, malaria
Thaindian News, Thailand People with HIV, TB, malaria should not rely on homeopathy, says WHO
The News, Pakistan WHO warns against homeopathy treatments
Estadao.com.br, Brazil OMS alerta para risco de homeopatia contra Aids e malaria
Excelsior, Mexico Desaconseja OMS homeopatia para sida, tuberculosis o malaria
Radio Netherlands Worldwide Sceptics want homeopathy banned in Africa, RADIO INTERVIEW

Dear Homeopathic Colleague,

Homeopathy has suffered a very serious attack. The Voices of Young Science, a UK based group from Sense About Science, dedicated to eliminating homeopathy, sent a letter to the World Health Organization asking WHO to condemn homoeopathy in developing countries, especially in the areas of influenza, childhood diarrhoea, malaria and AIDS. WHO replied last week with statements from various Departmental Heads saying there is no indication of effectiveness of homoeopathy in any of these areas. VoYS has circulated the response of WHO to the media and have amplified the letter as if it is a public announcement from WHO, WHICH IT IS NOT. Additionally, VoYS has stated on its website that it will be contacting the Health Ministries of all countries in the world to let them know about the WHO response and press them to condemn homoeopathy in their country.

The BBC online then spread this false item, as WHO Warns Against Homeopathy Use. They have since apologised and admitted that it was hasty and mistaken in posting the article as an official statement, without checking the facts and without balancing the article with input from official homeopathy organizations, and have changed the headline. But the original BBC version has been picked up by newspapers worldwide and every day more and more online sites and blogs are copying the article.  If we let this go it will be too late, people will believe this dirty trick campaign.

WE ARE ASKING YOU TO DO TWO ACTIONS IMMEDIATELY:

1) PROTEST TO THE BBC AND NEWSPAPERS SPREADING THIS ARTICLE:
Please send emails or letters to the BBC complaint department  AND to other newspapers publishing the statement.  Tell them that this headline is false and BBC has since changed the article.  (Below see: BBC response and list of Media reporting the article)
newsonline.complaints@bbc.co.uk
http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml

2) LAUNCH A MASS PROTEST TO WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION:
It is important that WHO hear from as MANY INDIVIDUALS AS POSSIBLE

  • Read the attached letter which has been sent by  “HOMEOPATHY LIVES!” to WHO.
  • Adapt it to your own wording, while keeping the main points.  It is best to have a variety of letters. Do not forget to sign your name.
  • Send it to one or more of the WHO email addresses below.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS ENTIRE EMAIL TO ALL OF YOUR HOMOEOPATHY CONTACTS. Please blind copy the email addresses and erase the sender email address. Please ask your patients to join the protest.

Just Forwarding is not enough! Make sure to send at least two letters.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE HOMOEOPATHY COMMUNITY AROUND THE WORLD STAND UP AGAINST THIS MALICIOUS ATTACK.

WHY THIS NEEDS YOUR ACTION NOW

If you are living in the US or have no contact with developing countries, you may wonder why this is an important issue for you to act upon. In fact some suggest that no response be made and that we continue to focus our energies on our good work.

However, this attack is different

1. This is a group (VoYS) that is aggressively dedicated to destroying homoeopathy. They have stated this on their website and in their letter to their members announcing the WHO letter. While located in the UK, they are reaching out to all countries. They have tried to influence India and right now they have specifically targeted several homoeopathy projects in Africa. They contact governmental offices, national health ministries, academic medical departments and other organizations in these countries and warn them against homoeopathy using distortion and half truths. They use every means at their disposal to disrupt or end the projects. They have only one goal-to end homeopathy in the world and they are effective and dangerous to homoeopathy.

2. Existing homoeopathy projects will suffer because of these attacks, hindering raising of funds and initiating research. We are a holistic healing community. When one of our practitioners or one location of our profession is attacked, it is an attack against all of us. Just as we would not turn our backs on treating patients with acute attacks of cholera or malaria, who without homeopathic treatment might die, we should not be complacent about this group. This is a serious acute attack and needs a like response.

3. These attacks are coming because homoeopathy is gaining approval and popularity. We must be ready to stand firmly beside the good work that we are doing and be ready to assure that all people, especially those in developing countries, have access to this healing modality. If we do not respond this could affect each and every one of us.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW!

World Health Organization (WHO) Contacts :

  • Director General Dr. Margaret Chan  Media Officer Fadela Chaib  chaibf@who.int

  • Mr A. Etukudo, Division of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria at the World Health Organisation’s regional office in Congo, Africa regafro@afro.who.int

  • Dr Elisabeth Mason,  Director Department of Child & Adolescent Health Development masone@who.int

  • Dr Mukund Uplekar, TB Strategy and Health Systems, uplekar@who.int

  • Dr Sergio Spinaci, Associate Director, Global Malaria Programme  spinacis@who.int

  • Dr Mario Raviglione, Director, Stop TB Department Press Contact Glenn Thomas thomasg@who.int

  • Dr Teguest Guerma, Director Ad Interim, HIV/AIDS Department,  Press contact  Valeri Abramov  abramovv@who.int

BBC response to complaint:

Many thanks for your e-mail. We have since updated this report and it now includes two comments putting the case for homeopathy – one referring to treatment for diarrhoea – although we accept that it would have been desirable to have had these in the article earlier.

It became clear from correspondence that some readers found the original headline – WHO warns against homeopathy use – ambiguous, and this has been altered to reflect the fact that people are being urged not to rely on homeopathy.

Best wishes,
BBC News website
http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/handle.shtml

MEDIA WHO PUBLISHED ORIGINAL BBC ARTICLE

BBC online Homeopathy not a cure, says WHO
BMJ WHO warns against using homoeopathy to treat serious diseases
The Independent Steve Connor: Lack of waves causes ripples of excitement
Kaiser Family Foundation WHO Recommends Against Using Homeopathic Treatments For HIV, TB, Malaria, Influenza, Infant Diarrhea
USA Today WHO warns against homeopathy treatments
Rocket News WHO warns against homeopathy use
Digital Journal Medics Condemn Homeopathic Treatments
Newser WHO Sounds Alarm on Homeopathy
World News Network WHO warns against homeopathy use
Drugs and Diseases Homeopathy not a cure, says WHO
NetDoctor Homeopathy ‘not a cure’ for disease
The Millenium Project WHO does not recommend the use of homeopathy for HIV, malaria, TB, influenza and infant diarrhoea
hc2d.co.uk Homeopathy not recommended by WHO
PharmiWeb.com Homeopathy: No Science, No Proof, No Cure
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation WHO warns against homeopathy use
Kenya Broadcasting Corporation WHO warns against homeopathy use
El Pais, Spain La OMS desaconseja el uso de la homeopatia para el tratamiento del sida o la malaria
NU.nl WHO waarschuwt voor homeopathie
Eesti Paevaleht, Estonia WHO hoiatab HIVi ja malaaria homoopaatilise ravi eest
Helsingin Sanomat, Finland WHO varoittaa homeopaattisista hoidoista
Corriere della Sera, Italy Oms: preoccupazione per la diffusione dellâ omeopatia nel terzo mondo
Delfi, Lithuania Pasauline sveikatos organizacija ispeja del homeopatijos naudojimo
Polskie Radio, Poland WHO ostrzega przed homeopatia
Journal of Turkish Weekly WHO warns against homeopathy use
The Times of India Homeopathy doesn’t help in HIV, TB, malaria
Thaindian News, Thailand People with HIV, TB, malaria should not rely on homeopathy, says WHO
The News, Pakistan WHO warns against homeopathy treatments
Estadao.com.br, Brazil OMS alerta para risco de homeopatia contra Aids e malaria
Excelsior, Mexico Desaconseja OMS homeopatia para sida, tuberculosis o malaria
Radio Netherlands Worldwide Sceptics want homeopathy banned in Africa, RADIO INTERVIEW

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