New Delhi: India has paved the way for traditional medicine around the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said during the WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on Thursday (August 17). The Global Summit is being held alongside the G20 health ministerial meeting, to mobilise political commitment and evidence-based action on traditional medicine, which is the first port of call for millions of people worldwide to address their health and well-being needs. The event is being co-hosted by WHO and the Government of India.
In his opening remarks at WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit, Dr Tedros said that the Indian government is doing commendable work integrating traditional medicines at the primary healthcare level, by creating wellness gardens in the clinics. He said that one of the great strengths of traditional medicine is the understanding of the intimate links between the health of humans and the environment. Dr Tedros added,
Traditional medicine is as old as humanity itself. Throughout history, people in all countries have used traditional healers and adhered to ancient medical practices to meet their needs for traditional health and well-being. The WHO is committed to supporting countries to unlock the potential of traditional medicine through the global traditional medicine centre in Jamnagar, which I had the honour to launch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.
About India’s progress in ensuring healthcare services to the last mile, Dr Tedros said that the country is working towards fulfilling its commitment through various health schemes and programmes like the Ayushman Bharat and investing in primary healthcare by establishing numerous health and wellness centres across the country.
The WHO Director-General said the organisation has been urging countries to invest in the primary healthcare system, and India is doing that.
As you know, many countries, including high-income countries, were surprised by COVID. The problem was a lack of investment in primary healthcare. So, when I say investment in primary healthcare, it’s for all countries, whether they’re high-income, middle-income, or low-income. So, this is the right investment that India has made, he said, as quoted by news agency ANI.
Talking about his visit to the healthcare centre at Adraj village in the Mahesana district of Gujarat, Dr Tedros said,
The health and wellness centre provides primary healthcare services to almost 5,000 people in 1,000 households. The functionality of these centres is applaudable.
The WHO chief also highlighted the government’s use of tele-consultation services at these primary health and wellness centres. He further said,
India is utilising tele-medicine for providing consultations remotely, expanding the delivery of services and saving patients time and money on travel.” This is what ‘Health For All’ looks like.
India has a rich history of traditional medicine through Ayurveda, including yoga, which has been shown to be effective in alleviating pain.
To incorporate traditional medical practices by all the nations, Dr. Tedros requested:
- All the countries come up with strategies to integrate traditional and modern medicines into their national health systems.
- Recognise evidence and action-based recommendations that can inform the next WHO traditional medicine global strategy.
- Use the summit as an outset for a global movement to unlock the power of traditional medicine through science and innovation.
Talking about the summit, the WHO Chief said the organisation plans to conduct such events regularly (once every two years), to provide an established global forum for sharing evidence and best practices in the use of traditional medicine.
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