June 24, 2024

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WHO chief refers to Global Traditional Medicine Centre in India in his address to World Health Assembly

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GENEVA: World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday referred to the Global Traditional Medicine Centre set up in India and the first global summit on traditional medicine hosted by the country as he underlined that the year 2023 was a productive one in the UN health agency’s work supporting access to medicines and other health products.
“We also established the Global Traditional Medicine Centre in India, and hosted the first global summit on traditional medicine,” Ghebreyesus said in his remarks as he presented his report to the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva.
In March 2022, the Government of India and the UN health agency had signed an agreement to establish the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine.
This global knowledge centre for traditional medicine, supported by an investment of $250 million from 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, the UN health agency had said in a press release at the time.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the agreement between the Ministry of Ayush and WHO to establish the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) world’s first at Jamnagar, Gujarat, is a commendable initiative.
He laid the foundation stone of WHO-GCTM in Jamnagar in April 2022.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi had said that the WHO-GCTM is recognition of India’s contribution and potential in this field. “India’s traditional medicine system is not limited only to treatment. It is a holistic science of life. India takes this partnership as a huge responsibility for serving the entire humanity.”
WHO had convened the Traditional Medicine Global Summit in August last year in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The summit was co-hosted by India, which held the G20 presidency in 2023. It was held alongside the G20 Health Ministerial meeting.
The summit explored the role of traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine in addressing pressing health challenges and driving progress in global health and sustainable development.
Ghebreyesus had arrived in Gujarat to attend the global summit on traditional medicine and was accorded a warm welcome.
Praising India for its “rich history” of traditional medicine like Ayurveda and yoga, Ghebreyesus had stressed the need to integrate this ancient medicinal knowledge into the national health system of countries.
“India has a rich history of traditional medicine through Ayurveda, including yoga, which has been shown to be effective in alleviating pain. The Gujarat Declaration, the main outcome of this summit, will focus on integration of traditional medicines in national health systems, and help unlock the power of traditional medicine through science,” the WHO chief had said.
In his address to the World Health Assembly Monday, Ghebreyesus said 2023 was a year of many challenges, but also of many achievements. He said the year 2023 was a productive one in WHO’s work supporting access to medicines and other health products.
“We prequalified 120 medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and other products last year for HIV, malaria, multidrug-resistant TB, Ebola, polio and Covid-19, as well as the first long-acting insulin analogues,” he said.
He noted that one of the biggest disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic was to routine immunization programmes in many countries, resulting in backsliding coverage and outbreaks of measles, diphtheria, polio, yellow fever and more.
“In April last year, we launched ‘The Big Catch Up’ with UNICEF and Gavi, to support countries to shut down outbreaks and restore immunization programmes at least to pre-pandemic levels,” he said.
In May last year, the WHO chief had declared an end to both Covid-19 and mpox as global health emergencies. “We continue to call on all countries to maintain and reinforce the capacities for surveillance, detection and response that they built during the pandemic. These investments must not go to waste.”


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