‘Gujarat will be the mecca of traditional medicine’. The remark was made by Dr. Tedros, Director-General of the World Health Organization, who was in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, at the first ever WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit.
The two-day summit held from August 17th to 18th focused on the theme “Towards Health and Well-Being for All”. It explored the role of traditional complementary and integrative medicine in addressing pressing health challenges and driving progress in global health and sustainable development.
Notably, WHO’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine is headquartered in Jamnagar, Gujarat, and serves as a knowledge hub, synergizing ancient wisdom with modern science. WHO Chief Dr. Tedros stressed the link between traditional medicines and the environment and said, “Traditional medicine is as old as humanity itself, people in all nations have used traditional healing practices at some point in their lives.” He highlighted how the sources of many modern drugs can be traced to the use of traditional medicine methods by communities like willow bark and periwinkle, which form the basis for aspirin and cancer drugs.
In recent years, India has taken various steps to promote traditional medicines around the world. For instance, the India-ASEAN Conference on Traditional Medicine aimed to strengthen the relationship between India and ASEAN countries and draw a roadmap for future cooperation in the field of traditional medicines.
India boasts an invaluable treasure trove of traditional medicine systems that date back centuries. These systems, including Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, and Siddha, are gaining worldwide recognition for their holistic approach to health and well-being.
Speaking about the summit, Union Minister Sarbanand Sonowal said it will help identify potential areas for collaboration and innovation in traditional medicines and help harness traditional medicine in achieving Universal Health Coverage goals.