The WHO Global Centre will focus on data, innovation, sustainability and will optimize the use of traditional medicine

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday laid the foundation stone of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar amidst the presence of Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Modi said “The WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine is a recognition of India's contribution and potential in this field”.

The Prime Minister laid down five goals for the new Center. First, to create a database of traditional knowledge systems using technology; second, GCTM can create international standards for testing and certification of traditional medicines so that confidence in these medicines improves.

Third, GCTM should evolve as a platform where global experts of traditional medicines come together and share experiences. He also asked the centre to explore the possibility of an annual traditional medicine festival. Fourth, GCTM should mobilize funding for research in the field of traditional medicines.

Finally, GCTM should develop protocols for holistic treatment of specific diseases so that patients could benefit from both traditional and modern medicine.

He further declared “India takes this partnership as a huge responsibility for serving the entire humanity.”

Expressing happiness at the venue of the WHO Center, the Prime Minister said “Jamnagar’s contributions towards wellness will get a global identity with WHO’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine.”

Modi said that more than five decades ago the world’s first Ayurvedic University was established in Jamnagar. The city has a quality Ayurvedic institute in Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda.

The Prime Minister said “India’s traditional medicine system is not limited to treatment. It is a holistic science of life.” Ayurveda goes beyond just healing and treatment, said Modi and elaborated that in Ayurveda, apart from healing and treatment; social health, mental health-happiness, environmental health, sympathy, compassion and productivity are included.

“Ayurveda is taken as the knowledge of life and it has been deemed as the fifth Veda”, Modi said. Good health is directly related to a balanced diet, said the Prime Minister. He explained that our ancestors considered diet as half of the treatment and our medical systems are replete with dietary advice.

The Prime Minister said that it is a matter of immense pride for India that 2023 has been chosen as the International Year of Millets by the United Nations. He said that this step will prove to be beneficial for humanity.

The Prime Minister noted the rising demand for Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani formulations globally as many countries are stressing upon the traditional medicine for dealing with the pandemic. Similarly, Yoga is gaining popularity across the world. PM Modi pointed out that Yoga is proving immensely useful in fighting diseases like diabetes, obesity and depression. Yoga is also helping people in reducing mental tension and finding balance in mind-body and consciousness.

PM Modi invoked the Indian concept of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’ and prayed for the whole world to always remain healthy. He said that with establishment of WHO-GCTM, this tradition will get further enriched.

WHO Chief Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said GCTM will be the first and only global outpost centre for traditional medicine across the world. It will emerge as an international hub of global wellness. Video messages from the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and the President of Maldives were played on the occasion.

Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, thanked Prime Minister Modi for his leadership in providing all the support for the establishment of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar. The DG termed the centre as a truly global project as 107 WHO member countries have their country specific governmental offices which means the world will come to India for its leadership in traditional medicine.

He said traditional medicines products abound globally and the centre will go a long way in bringing the promise of the traditional medicine to fruition. For many regions of the world traditional medicine is the first line of treatment.

The New Centre will focus on data, innovation and sustainability and will optimize the use of traditional medicine, he added. The centre's five main areas will be research and leadership, evidence and learning, data and analytics, sustainability and equity and innovation and technology, said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.

The Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth also thanked the Prime Minister for associating Mauritius with the occasion. He highlighted the importance of indigenous medical system and herbal products in various cultures. He said that there could not have been a more opportune time than now for the establishment of the centre. He underlined the personal contribution of Prime Minister Modi in taking leadership in the establishment of the Centre.

“We are extremely grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, Government of India and the Indian people for this generous contribution”, said Pravind Kumar Jugnauth.

He also gave details of legislative recognition to Ayurveda in Mauritius since 1989. He also thanked Gujarat for providing scholarship to students from Mauritius for studying Ayurvedic medicine in Jamnagar.