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August 17, 2023 2:57 PM IST

WHO Chief hails India’s rich history of traditional medicine

Health | G20 | Traditional Medicine Global Summit | Ayurveda | WHO Chief | Dr. Tedros | G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of World Health Organization hailed India’s rich history of traditional medicine at the inauguration of WHO’s first-ever Traditional Medicine Global Summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on August 17.

“India has a rich history of traditional medicine through Ayurveda including Yoga which has been shown to be effective in alleviating pain,” Dr. Tedros said. He further added that the summit will help to unlock the potential of ancient traditional medicine and advance their understanding and use in today’s time. Moreover, he urged all countries to commit to integrate the traditional medicines in their National Health systems.

During the inaugural event, Dr. Tedros recognized India’s endeavors to improve Universal Health Coverage through the comprehensive Ayushman Bharat initiative. His visit to a Health and Wellness Centre the day before helped him to observe the expansion of primary health services across the nation. Additionally, he emphasized India’s adoption of telemedicine, a practice that not only widens the reach of healthcare services but also contributes to time and cost savings for patients.

In addition, Dr. Ghebreyesus also highlighted how the sources of many modern drugs can be traced to use of traditional medicine methods by communities like willow bark, and periwinkle which forms the basis for aspirin, and cancer drugs.

Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, who also graced the inaugural event, said that this Global Summit can be the platform to mobilize political commitment and evidence-based action on traditional medicine. He added, “I believe this Global Summit will provide a unique opportunity for us to engage in dialogue, exchange ideas, foster collaboration, and establish international partnerships to advance the agenda of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.”

The Minister further noted, “Traditional Medicine (TM) sees a huge demand from the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry. More than 170 states across the globe use TM. This summit is the ideal platform for the exchange of ideas and international collab to promote best practices.”

On the WHO’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine headquartered in Jamnagar, Gujarat, Dr. Mandaviya said, “This center serves as a knowledge hub, synergizing ancient wisdom with modern science for the betterment of people and the planet. By supplementing WHO’s core functions, the centre accelerates the advancement of traditional medicine globally.” In his address, he also elaborated on how in modern times, the demand for natural and herbal-based pharmaceuticals and cosmetics underscores the enduring significance of traditional healing practices.

What is on the agenda for the summit?

The two -day summit, from 17th to 18th August, with the theme “Towards Health and Well-being for All” is a co-branded event as part of the ongoing G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting being held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 17th to 19th August.

During the summit, there will be extensive discussions and the exchange of insights over two days regarding different aspects of Traditional Medicine worldwide. These discussions will cover a wide spectrum, including the necessity, influence, inventive approaches, and data regarding the utilization of traditional medicinal systems. As a part of the Summit’s activities, a specialized exhibition dedicated to traditional medicine will be officially opened today, highlighting the global worth and variety of traditional medicinal practices.

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Last updated on: 3rd March 2024