Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, lauded India's extensive heritage of traditional medicine during the inaugural ceremony of the first-ever Traditional Medicine Global Summit held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on August 17.
"India's rich history of traditional medicine, including Ayurveda and Yoga, has demonstrated effectiveness in pain relief," remarked Dr. Tedros. He emphasized that the summit would tap into the potential of ancient traditional medicine and enhance their contemporary understanding and application. Additionally, he urged countries to incorporate traditional medicine into their National Health systems.
The event highlighted India's efforts in bolstering Universal Health Coverage through the comprehensive Ayushman Bharat initiative. Dr. Tedros' visit to a Health and Wellness Centre the previous day allowed him to witness the expansion of primary health services across the nation. He also noted India's adoption of telemedicine, which extends healthcare access and reduces patient costs.
Furthermore, Dr. Ghebreyesus pointed out that many modern drugs have roots in traditional medicine practices, such as willow bark and periwinkle, which are fundamental to aspirin and cancer medications.
Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, present at the event, saw the Global Summit as a platform to rally political commitment and evidence-based actions for traditional medicine. He believed that the summit offered an exclusive opportunity for dialogue, idea exchange, collaboration, and international partnerships in advancing Traditional and Complementary Medicine.
Dr. Mandaviya recognized the demand for Traditional Medicine in industries like pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, with over 170 states worldwide utilizing these practices. The summit, he mentioned, facilitates idea exchange and international collaboration to promote best practices.
Regarding the WHO's Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, Gujarat, Dr. Mandaviya portrayed it as a knowledge hub, merging ancient wisdom with modern science for global betterment. He discussed the enduring relevance of traditional healing practices in a modern context, particularly the demand for natural and herbal-based pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
The two-day summit, themed "Towards Health and Well-being for All," coincided with the ongoing G20 Health Ministers' Meeting in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Discussions spanned various facets of Traditional Medicine worldwide, encompassing utilization, innovation, and the impact of traditional medicinal systems. An exhibition dedicated to traditional medicine further highlighted the global value and diversity of these practices.