The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Indian government have established the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, in the state of Gujarat, to create a reliable body of evidence and data for practices and products that many millions of people use, the chief of the global body said on Monday.
“Recognising that almost 90 per cent of Member States report the use of traditional medicine, just last month we established the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India, to create a reliable body of evidence and data for practices and products that many millions of people use,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in his opening address at the 75th World Health Assembly.
WHO and the Government of India signed an agreement to establish the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine.
The global knowledge centre for traditional medicine, supported by an investment of USD 250 million from the Government of India, aims to harness the potential of traditional medicine from across the world through modern science and technology to improve the health of people and the planet.
Around 80 per cent of the world’s population is estimated to use traditional medicine.
To date, 170 of the 194 WHO member states have reported the use of traditional medicine, and their governments have asked for WHO’s support in creating a body of reliable evidence and data on traditional medicine practices and products, the WHO said.
Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with WHO chief and Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth laid the foundation stone for the global centre in Jamnagar.
Modi said the establishment of the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine will usher in a new era of traditional medicine globally.
“When India is celebrating 75 years of its Independence right now, this ground-breaking ceremony for this centre marks the beginning of a new era of traditional medicine in the world during the next 25 years,” Modi had said on this occasion.
“Looking at the increasing popularity of holistic healthcare, I am confident that traditional medicine and this centre will become very important for each and every family of the world after 25 years, when India will be celebrating 100 years of independence,” he added.
Ghebreyesus has said that for many millions of people around the world, traditional medicine is the first port of call to treat many diseases.
“Ensuring all people have access to safe and effective treatment is an essential part of WHO’s mission, and this new centre will help to harness the power of science to strengthen the evidence base for traditional medicine. I’m grateful to the Government of India for its support, and we look forward to making it a success.” A WHO statement had said that traditional medicine is also increasingly prominent in the world of modern science.
Some 40 per cent of approved pharmaceutical products in use today derive from natural substances, highlighting the vital importance of conserving biodiversity and sustainability.