WHO Global Summit Highlights India’s Growing Role in Traditional Medicine

WHO Global Summit Highlights India's Growing Role in Traditional Medicine

The first Global Summit on Traditional Medicine, co-hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Ayush, was a landmark event that put light on India’s crucial contribution to traditional medicine. The conference, held in Gandhinagar, drew international attention since it brought together academics and policymakers to discuss the growing importance of traditional medicine in global healthcare.

Union Minister of Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal, lauded the significance of the event, emphasizing its historic importance. The outcomes of the summit are anticipated to be encapsulated in the forthcoming “Gujarat Declaration,” set to be released by the WHO.

During the summit, the WHO also unveiled initial findings from its global survey on Traditional Medicine, revealing a discernible uptick in the adoption and prevalence of traditional medicine practices worldwide. The final survey results are slated for release in November of this year. Addressing the media, Minister Sonowal underscored the significance of the forthcoming Gujarat Declaration, highlighting its role in recognizing the pivotal role of Traditional Medicine in achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The declaration aims to reaffirm WHO’s commitment to advancing UHC through the generation of evidence and policy support for member states.

Sonowal also elucidated the global acceptance of Traditional Medicine, drawing attention to the preliminary findings of the WHO’s Global Survey on the matter. These findings revealed that out of the 157 WHO member states, 97 possess National Policies pertaining to Traditional Medicine.

In addition, Minister Sonowal detailed the Ministry of Ayush’s efforts to expand the reach and influence of Indian Systems of Traditional Medicine. Successful bilateral meetings were conducted with Nepal, Malaysia, Qatar, Venezuela, and Cuba, fostering collaborations and the exchange of best practices. These meetings served as a platform to rejuvenate diplomatic ties and explore avenues for collaborative research, educational initiatives, and training in Ayurveda and other traditional medicinal systems.

The Union Minister commended the visionary commitment of Hon’ble Prime Minister  Narendra Modi, which led to the establishment of the Global Centre of Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, Gujarat. This monumental achievement was followed by the organization of the inaugural Global Summit on Traditional Medicine in India. The summit’s outcomes are poised to shape the direction of the Global Centre of Traditional Medicine and influence WHO’s strategy document for Traditional Medicine for the years 2025-2034.

Minister Sonowal further discussed the emerging prospects in the field of Traditional Medicine, noting the global demand for Digital Health Services. He highlighted the potential of traditional medicine to provide evidence-based health solutions, especially in the context of the contemporary need for holistic well-being. These discussions laid the foundation for future initiatives to be spearheaded by the Global Centre of Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar.

Significantly, the summit was held concurrently with the G20 Health Ministers’ meeting, fostering discourse on Traditional Medicine at this prestigious platform. The outcomes of this parallel meeting strongly reflect the commitment of member countries to leverage scientific and evidence-based traditional medicine in their pursuit of Universal Health Coverage.

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