WHO chief inaugurates Global Center for Traditional Medicine in India

WHO chief inaugurates Global Center for Traditional Medicine in India

The new center, funded by the Government of India with $250 million, aims to bring modern science and technology into traditional medicine for the benefit of the world.

The opening ceremony of the new WHO Global Center for Traditional Medicine will be held in Jamnagar, Gujarat, India, on April 21, 2022 with the participation of the Director-General of WHO and the Prime Minister of India.

According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of the world’s population uses traditional medicine. To date, 170 out of 194 WHO Member States have reported using their methods.

“For many millions of people around the world, traditional medicine is the primary treatment for many diseases,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus. “Making access to safe and effective treatment for all is an important part of WHO’s mission, and this new center will help harness the power of science to strengthen the evidence base of conventional medicine.”

The WHO chief thanked the Government of India for its support and said he “looks forward to the successful implementation of this project”.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Traditional medicine applies knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences of different cultures that are used to maintain health, prevent, diagnose and treat physical and mental illness, and improve the condition of patients. Traditional medicine includes a variety of treatments and practices.

Different countries have different attitudes towards these treatment methods. For example, countries in Africa and the Western Pacific consider traditional medicine a public health priority.

The World Health Organization notes that traditional healers have improved people’s health for thousands of years by providing primary health care at the community level.

To date, there is evidence of the benefits of traditional medicine, such as acupuncture, for pain relief. The World Health Organization is working with many countries to take a science-based approach to addressing the safety, efficacy and quality of these practices.

National health systems and strategies have not yet fully integrated millions of traditional medicine professionals into the health system.

When signing an agreement with the World Health Organization to establish a global center for traditional medicine, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government wanted to make preventive treatment affordable and accessible to all. He expressed his confidence that the center in Jamnagar will contribute to the search for optimal solutions in the field of healthcare. Modi noted that traditional medicine is occupies an increasingly prominent place in the world of modern science.

Approximately 40 percent of the medicines in use today are derived from natural materials, underscoring the importance of preserving biodiversity.

For example, when aspirin was discovered, the compositions used in traditional medicine were used, with the addition of willow bark; The pill is developed from the roots of the wild yam plant; The periwinkle is used to treat cancer in children. The Nobel Prize-winning research on artemisinin for fighting malaria began with an examination of ancient Chinese medical texts.

Today there is an active modernization of the methods of studying traditional medicine, including with the help of artificial intelligence. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is used to study brain activity and the relaxation response, and is part of a number of traditional medicine treatments, such as meditation and yoga. In addition, the methods of using traditional medicine are being modernized thanks to mobile applications, online classes and other technologies.

The activities of the new center will focus, among other things, on creating an evidence base in the field of traditional medicine and its integration into national health systems.

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