During the opening ceremony of the Congress, Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization, thanked the Government of the People’s Republic of China for their support before giving a detailed and encouraging speech. She identified the importance of traditional medicine in primary health care, the role of research, the need for appropriate licensing or registration of practitioners and the importance of patient-practitioner interaction. She stated, "The two systems of traditional and Western medicine need not clash. Within the context of primary health care, they can blend together in a beneficial harmony, using the best features of each system, and compensating for certain weaknesses in each. This is not something that will happen all by itself. Deliberate policy decisions have to be made. But it can be done successfully."
Delegates were welcomed by Dr Chen Zu, Minister of Health, People’s Republic of China and a number of key note addresses were heard from senior dignitaries from the World Health Organization and several Member States. In their presentations, the Minister of Health of the Union of Myanmar, Professor Kyaw Myint, and the Deputy Minister of Health of South Africa explored the role of integration of traditional medicine into primary health and the actions their respective countries have taken. The need for appropriate regulatory oversight of complementary medicine products was expressed in the presentation by Dr Rohan Hammett, National Manager of the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia.