PM Modi must ensure that traditional Indian medicine adheres to global standards

Modi stated that the GCTM should create a “global repository” for traditional medicine practises worldwide. This, he stated, will benefit “future generations.”

Noting an increase in global demand for Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani formulations as many countries turn to traditional medicine to combat the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday that testing and certification of traditional medicine at the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar must adhere to international standards.

The Prime Minister stated during the GCTM’s ground-breaking ceremony in the presence of Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus that “every household” will rely on traditional medicine within the next 25 years, or by the 100th anniversary of India’s independence.

He suggested that the GCTM create a “global repository” of traditional medicine practises from around the world. This, he stated, will benefit “future generations.”

“The WHO has formed a new partnership with this traditional medicine centre, one that recognises India’s potential and contributions. India views this as a tremendous responsibility and will contribute to providing better medical solutions to the world’s population.”

“GCTM must adhere to international standards when testing and certifying traditional medicine… This will also increase public trust in TM drugs. Many of India’s TM drugs and products are gaining traction with foreigners. However, due to a lack of international standards (for quality control and certification), regular trade (in such drugs and products) continues to be restricted,” he explained.

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Stressing that overall well-being is “inextricably linked” to a balanced diet and that wellness should be the “ultimate goal” — a sentiment that has gained traction in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the world seeks “new healthcare delivery systems” — Modi stated: “Jamnagar will reach new heights in the wellness sector with this centre.”

He stated that India’s practise of traditional medicine is not limited to treatment but encompasses all aspects of life, including social health, mental health, happiness, environmental health, sympathy, and empathy. Ayurveda is sometimes referred to as the fifth Veda.”

“With the emergence of new diseases, our knowledge of TM is critical. A balanced diet is necessary for good health… Our knowledge system and hundreds of years of experience tell us when and what to eat. Our forefathers used to emphasise the importance of millets. Its use has dwindled over time, but we are now seeing renewed encouragement for its use. The year 2021 has been designated as the International Millet Year… The National Nutrition Mission has been guided by the ancient teachings of India. Even during Covid-19, we incorporated Ayurvedic knowledge, and the Ayush Kada became extremely popular. These formulations were in high demand throughout the world. Today, in order to avert a pandemic, several countries are placing a premium on TM. India’s yoga has played a significant role in the treatment of numerous diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and depression, and is currently assisting people worldwide in reducing mental stress and reestablishing balance,” he said.

The Prime Minister established five objectives for the new centre. To begin, GCTM can use technology to create a database of traditional knowledge systems; second, GCTM can develop international standards for testing and certification of traditional medicines, thereby increasing public confidence in these medicines. Thirdly, GCTM should develop into a forum for global experts in traditional medicine to convene and share their knowledge. He also requested that the centre investigate the possibility of hosting an annual festival of traditional medicine. Fourth, the GCTM should seek funding for traditional medicine research. Finally, GCTM should develop protocols for holistic disease treatment, allowing patients to benefit from both traditional and modern medicine.

Ghebreyesus stated that the center’s five primary areas of focus will be research and leadership, evidence and learning, data and analytics, sustainability and equity, and innovation and technology.

Union Minister of Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal stated that the Indian Ayush industry now generates $18.1 billion, up from $3 billion in 2014, and that “it is critical for member states to work cooperatively to integrate modern science and the codified system of traditional medicine.” This, he stated, will assist the scientific community in addressing “challenges such as antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the increasing prevalence of age-related disorders, and non-communicable diseases, as well as the goal of a tuberculosis-free world.”

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