More than 75 nations participate in the first-ever Global Summit on Traditional Medicine
Traditional medicine has a growing relevance even today, World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Thursday (August 17, 2023) at the inaugural event of the first WHO Global Summit on Traditional Medicine.

The two-day summit was held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, along with the G20 Health Ministerial meet.

In his inaugural address, the WHO DG stated, “Traditional Medicine is as old as humanity itself. However, it is not a thing of the past. It has a growing relevance in communities and cultures even today.” He commended the Indian Government’s Ayushman Bharat initiative and the country’s medical system. He also praised the seamless integration of traditional medicine into primary healthcare in rural areas.

Union Minister of Ayush Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel, Union MoS for Ayush Munjpara Mahendrabhai Kalubhai, and senior delegates of WHO were also present.

Sonowal said that the outcome of the historic WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit will help to propose recommendations for a dedicated forum within future G20 presidencies. He stated that the integrative approach of the government of India is resulting in the establishment of dedicated Ayush Departments in all AIIMS. He said that it all has happened just because Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a clear vision about the efficacy of Ayush and he strongly supported the efforts to give all-round boost to the Ministry of Ayush for the benefit of masses of India and the world.

Mandaviya highlighted the significant contributions of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel in nation-building. He emphasized that with the WHO GCTM leading the way towards a more prominent role of traditional medicine in mainstream healthcare, India is well-positioned to become a knowledge hub and unlock the full potential of TM.

The pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries are both showing significant interest in traditional medicine and more than 170 countries around the world are utilizing it. The summit provides an ideal platform for international collaboration and the exchange of ideas to promote best practices in the sector, he concluded.

Chief Minister Patel shared how Prime Minister Modi believed that traditional medicine could play an effective role in dealing with a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic. Following this thought, he began connecting other countries of the world with the mission of Traditional Medicine. His initiative has now emerged as the world's first Traditional Medicine Global Summit, Patel remarked.

Many visitors were drawn to the experiential Ayush Exhibition Zone which took place alongside an exhibition of traditional medicine systems from WHO’s six regions. The theme of the exhibition was ‘Ayush for Planetary Health and Well-being’ and is envisioned with showcasing the achievements of the Ministry of Ayush in areas of Education, Healthcare, Research and Public health. The Zone welcomed visitors with a display of medicinal plants including those used in Ayurveda.

The ministry's pursuit of sustainable Ayush manufacturing and zero-waste was highlighted through an impressive pavilion. The exhibition featured their recycling practices and interactive kiosks, which allowed visitors to access comprehensive information about Ayush, including the location of all Ayush hospitals and a digital library with research papers related to the field.

A virtual reality experience of Ayush Healthcare services was available. The mythical wish-fulfilling tree, the Kalpavriksha was the highpoint of the Ayush Exhibition Zone. In addition, visitors could engage in an immersive experience, featuring an AI-based Ayurveda Pulse diagnosis, body constitution analysis, and even a live Yoga demonstration.