Homeopaths Without Borders practice exploitation not humanitarianism

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David M Shaw criticises the proselytising of a group that wants to provide homeopathy to some of the world’s most vulnerable people

Although homeopathy has received a great deal of criticism in recent years for unethical practices, the movement Homeopaths Without Borders has gone almost entirely unmentioned in the medical literature. This is somewhat surprising, given that the campaign is engaged in activity even more dubious than that of most homeopaths. It has quite a long history, with several different national associations. Here I focus on the German and North American groups and briefly describe some of their activities and their potentially harmful effects.

The centrepiece of the 15th anniversary conference of Homeopaths Without Borders Germany was a debate on the question “Does the call for scientific evidence entitle to refuse[sic] homeopathic humanitarian help?”

The group’s website provides some examples of its work: “In Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia there now are active associations for classical homeopathy. Well-trained doctors and therapists practice homeopathy there with great success. In Kenya traditional midwives learned to save lives by using homeopathy in difficult deliveries if there is no hospital available. Thus health care for the local population is being increased and qualified jobs are being provided.”

The first example reveals a key part of the group’s mission: it seeks to propagate homeopathy in countries where it has not previously had a foothold. The Kenya example is shocking: it implies that homeopathy can save lives, which no mainstream homeopathy organisation has claimed for several years.

Written By: David M Shawcontinue to source article at bmj.com

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      • In reply to #2 by serfdood:

        In reply to #1 by SaganTheCat:

        what’s the homeopathic remedy for flood victims?

        A hair dryer.

        No, just a very very little extra water and of course some modest charges.

        It’s interesting that as they sell nothing they will be able to price their placebos at just the right price for even the most vulnerable societies.

      • That depends on the concentration of shit floating in the water.

        In reply to #3 by TenderHooligan:

        Does that not count as a homeopathic overdose?

        In reply to #1 by SaganTheCat:

        what’s the homeopathic remedy for flood victims?

      • In reply to #3 by TenderHooligan:

        Does that not count as a homeopathic overdose?

        In reply to #1 by SaganTheCat:

        what’s the homeopathic remedy for flood victims?

        Overdose is a problem, since homeopaths believe that the more diluted, the stronger. Maybe the Hahneman was honest about it, but I suspect that the present-days homeopaths know the truth very well. But this dilution thing serves them very well, because it makes difficult to prove anything.

  1. Standard medicine has slipped. Pharmaceutical companies are able to get drugs approved by hiding unfavourable studies. They don’t have to prove a drug is significantly effective. We need proper statistical proof a drug is effective, then hold homeopathy and other therapies to the same stardard . Homeopathy is just water. I can’t possibly be more effective that a placebo, because it is a placebo.

  2. The point of the article is well made. Although homeopathy may not in itself be harmful, this organisation, in aping the name Medecin Sans Frontiers, may be diverting charitable funds from organisations that really can help. Homeopathy without frontiers has charitable status, and calls for donations. Sadly, many well meaning people are also gullible, and will be sending off their monetary donations to a bunch of charlatans, which in my view is called fraud.

  3. According to homeopathy, you treat something by taking a diluted dose of something that causes it. Flood victims are victims of water, so you’d need to dilute, in water or in sugar pills, either water or something that somehow has the same effects. Nope; it has to be water. Which you can’t dilute in sugar pills, because it dissolves them. So basically you have to give people water, sugary water or wet sugar depending on the ratio.

    • In reply to #8 by Jos Gibbons:

      According to homeopathy, you treat something by taking a diluted dose of something that causes it. Flood victims are victims of water, so you’d need to dilute, in water or in sugar pills, either water or something that somehow has the same effects. Nope; it has to be water. Which you can’t dilute in sugar pills, because it dissolves them. So basically you have to give people water, sugary water or wet sugar depending on the ratio.

      It has to be water diluted with water. Remember the water has a memory… probably of every bladder it’s passed through.
      I liked Dara O’Briain’s monologue on this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDYba0m6ztE
      Highlight: “…the great thing about homeopathy is you can’t overdose on it.” “Yeah, but you can fookin’ DROWN!” (2:10)

      Steve

  4. The group’s website provides some examples of its work: “In Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia there now are active associations for classical homeopathy. Well-trained doctors and therapists practice homeopathy there with great success. In Kenya traditional midwives learned to save lives by using homeopathy in difficult deliveries if there is no hospital available. Thus health care for the local population is being increased and qualified jobs are being provided.”

    This should be treated as fraud and destroyed to make way for proper medical care. There is no way “homeopath” is a qualified job, much less that homeopathy improves health. These people are undermining real attempts to help the sick and needy.

  5. Scientology and other woo peddlers take the same strategy, infect areas which lack education resources and cultural immunity. It’s like intentionally creating cargo cults. Homeopathy is bad enough in developed countries, but I fear in the third world it could result in lives being lost.

    People who deliver vaccines are sometimes murdered in the third world because of lies propagated about their work. If homeopaths caught a few bullets, it could actually save lives.

  6. After Angelina Jolie revealed the double-mastectomy fact, I sent a letter with my story to one of the internet portals. I opted for double mastectomy because of mutated PTEN gene, already present benign problems and endometrial cancer diagnosed some years before (statistical probability is much less).
    Anyway the comments were generally positive, however I got very angry responses to: “And, girls, please don’t waste money on homeopaths and aura cleaners! Better go to the gymn, take up dancing, because surgeries are easier when you have decent musculature!” Yeah, poor homeopaths ….

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