Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar, in the presence of the Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO).
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.
Dr Ghebreyesus 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. The new centre will focus on data, innovation and sustainability and will optimise the use of traditional medicine. The centre’s five main areas will be research and leadership, evidence and learning, data and analytics, sustainability and equity and innovation and technology.
On this occasion, Mauritius PM Jugnauth underlined the personal contribution of Prime Minister Modi in taking leadership in the establishment of the centre and the Indian people for this generous contribution. PM Modi assured the DG, WHO, that his expectations from India will be met. The Prime Minister said, “The WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine is a recognition of India’s contribution and potential in this field”. He declared “India takes this partnership as a huge responsibility for serving the entire humanity.”
The Prime Minister said, “Jamnagar’s contributions towards wellness will get a global identity with WHO’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine.” He said more than five decades ago, the world’s first Ayurvedic University was established in Jamnagar. The city has a quality Ayurvedic institute in the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda.
The Prime Minister emphasised that our ultimate goal should be of attaining wellness. He said that staying disease-free may be an important part of life but the ultimate goal has to be wellness. The PM said “The world is looking for a new dimension of healthcare delivery today. I am happy that by giving the slogan ‘One planet our health’ WHO has promoted the Indian vision of ‘One Earth, One Health’.
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 PM 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”, PM Modi said. He said good health is directly related to a balanced diet. 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, and Unani formulations globally as many countries are stressing 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 find balance in mind-body and consciousness.
The Prime Minister laid down five goals for the new Centre. 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 mobilise funding for research in the field of traditional medicines. Finally, GCTM should develop protocols for the holistic treatment of specific diseases so that patients could benefit from both traditional and modern medicine.
The Prime Minister invoked the Indian concept of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’ and prayed for the whole world to always remain healthy. He said that with the establishment of WHO-GCTM, this tradition will get further enriched. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, World Health Organisation (WHO), Southeast Asia, said the launch of GCTM marks the beginning of a bold new chapter for efforts in the Southeast Asia region and across the world to leverage the potential of traditional medicine (TRM) to advance the United Nations’ sustainable development goal (SDG) 3 on ensuring health and wellbeing for all at all ages.
She further reiterated and urged all stakeholders in the region and globally to contribute towards, and leverage, the potential of the GCTM, with full appreciation of the GoI’s ongoing commitment to the wisdom and solidarity embodied in the philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’. The world, indeed, is one family
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