Naturopathy and Public health are analogous! Public health is rooted in the foundation of Naturopathic Principles such as prevention. Hence, vaccination is Naturopathy as well! Any true naturopathic doctor trained from an accredited Naturopathic Medicine school believes in public health programs and not against it in crisis like this. The ultimate goal of any health care system should be prevention of disease. This is accomplished through education and the promotion of life habits that create good health. Naturopathic physicians learn to assess risk factors and to sharpen their deductive reasoning, and to understand the patient’s circumstances. Appropriate interventions are then sought to avoid further harm or risk to the patient.
The danger as a Naturopathic doctor is providing advice to patients on Vaccine. But as Halper and Berger, 1981, put it, there are many types of naturopath and their training. A Naturopath who graduates from four to five-year Naturopathic Medical School is a true Naturopath and provide an objective opinion on vaccine. One interesting engagement with Dr. Mary Alison Higi, 2013, a naturopath who specializes in paediatrics graduated from Bastyr University where she earned her Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes the importance of the physician’s role in preventative medicine and public health. Dr. Higi has a special interest in implementing Naturopathic Medicine programs for under-served communities. Dr. Mary Alison Higi, gives vaccines as a Naturopathic doctor and agrees that, “Vaccination follows three of our most important guiding principles”
- Premum non Nocere — First do no harm; weigh out risks and benefits and follow the least harmful path.
- Docere — A physician should be a teacher to her patients.
- Preventir — Practice preventative medicine.
She has this to say on vaccines: “By providing routine vaccinations to my patients I have the opportunity to help them weigh risks and benefits of vaccine preventable disease versus costly, painful and the often dangerous consequences of preventable infections. When I counsel and give vaccines I get to teach about disease prevention and public health; I get to help patients prevent some truly life threatening diseases. So yes, vaccines are naturopathic! In that light, following our naturopathic principles, there are a few vaccination myths that I’ve heard so often, I feel compelled to dispel them”.
Being a Naturopathic doctor myself, I know how provocative it can be to talk about vaccines. Many people including my students asked me my take on the COVID 19 vaccination program in Ghana. I keep telling them that true Naturopathy being taught at Nyarkotey College of holistic Medicine is not against vaccination in public health crisis. Besides, I have recently vaccinated my baby girl and taking part in all the vaccination program to keep the child from prospective killer diseases. I also think that most Naturopathic doctors that specialize in pediatrics administer vaccines in their practice – which often surprises people abroad. Additionally, many people who claimed to be Naturopathic doctors in Ghana and not true Naturopaths but ‘radio’ Naturopath.
Hence, vaccines are Naturopathic as Naturopathy follows the principles of public health. Interesting, on the website of one of the leading Naturopathic Medical Universities in the world, the National University of Health Sciences, n.d, has this to say on immunization: “National University of Health Sciences distributes Immunization Guidelines and Certificate of Immunity forms to all new students. These forms are required in order for NUHS to comply with Illinois state law. The law requires all college students born after 1956 to submit immunization information before registration, or to submit a letter that qualifies them for a medical or religious exemption”. It further reads: “Anyone with a vaccine exemption may be excluded from the university in the event of a measles, rubella, mumps, or diphtheria outbreak in accordance with public health recommendations”
The Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC), The AANMC, 2021, represents the accredited and recognized programs leading to a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine in the United States and Canada, released a Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination and it reads:
“AANMC member institutions strongly recommend that all members of their communities, particularly those working or learning in a clinical setting, receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it becomes available to them. The emerging evidence on COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments is being closely monitored, and all AANMC members support adhering to federal/state/provincial/territorial government and public health agency guidelines for healthcare providers and academic institutions”.
So you see, true Naturopathy is not in conflict or competition with medical sciences. I will be taking my COVID 19 vaccine as well and do not let any ‘radio’ Naturopath mislead you! True Naturopathic medicine believes in the principle of prevention!
The writer is an honorary Professor of Naturopathic Holistic Medicine & Naturopathic Physician-Vinnytsia State Pedagogical University, Ukraine. President, Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine and currently, Level 300 LLB law student. Contact: 0241083423/0541234556
By Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu