Cabinet approves setting up of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India

New Delhi, March 9, 2022

The Union Cabinet today approved the establishment of the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (WHO GCTM) in Jamnagar, Gujarat with the signing of a Host Country Agreement between the Government and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The WHO GCTM will be established in Jamnagar under the Ministry of AYUSH. It would be the first and only global outpost centre (office) for traditional medicine across the globe, an official press release said.

It will help position AYUSH systems across the globe and provide leadership on global health matters on traditional medicine. It will ensure quality, safety and efficacy, accessibility and rational use of traditional medicine, the release said.

The Centre would develop norms, standards and guidelines in relevant technical areas, tools and methodologies, for collecting data undertaking analytics and assessing the impact, it said.

It envisages WHO TM Informatics centre creating a collaboration of existing TM Data banks, virtual libraries, and academic and research institutes. It would develop specific capacity building and training programmes in the areas of relevance to the objectives and conduct training programmes in campus, residential, or web-based and through partnerships with the WHO Academy and other strategic partners.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghbereyesus had announced the establishment of WHO GCTM in India on the occasion of the 5th Ayurveda Day on November 13, 2020, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Praising this initiative of WHO, Modi had expressed the hope that the WHO GCTM would emerge as a centre of global wellness, bolster evidence-based research, training and awareness for Traditional Medicine.

A Joint Task Force (JTF) was constituted for coordination, execution and monitoring of activities for the establishment of this Centre. JTF comprises representatives from the Government, Permanent Mission of India, Geneva and the World Health Organization. Under its ambit, an interim office is being established at the ITRA, Jamnagar to execute the identified technical activities and planning of a fully functional WHO GCTM.

The interim office is intended to deliver broadly on the generation of evidence and innovation, artificial intelligence-based solutions for traditional medicine, systematic reviews in collaboration with Cochrane, Global survey on traditional medicine data across WHO GPW 13 (13th General Programme of Work 2019-2023) and sustainable development goals, traditional medicine socio-cultural and biodiversity heritage. It would have a forward-looking approach to sustainable development and management and cross-cutting functions, business operations and administrative processes for the establishment of the main office of WHO GCTM, the release said.

The WHO GCTM would provide leadership on all global health matters related to traditional medicine as well as extend support to member countries in shaping various policies related to traditional medicine research, practices and public health.

"The Ministry of AYUSH has collaborated with WHO on many fronts including developing benchmarks documents on training and practice of Ayurveda and Unani System, introducing a second module in the Traditional Medicine Chapter of the International classification of Diseases-11, developing apps like M-yoga, supporting the work of International Pharmacopeia of Herbal Medicine (IPHM) and other research studies.

"Traditional medicine is a key pillar of health care delivery systems and plays a crucial role in maintaining good health and well-being. Safe and effective traditional medicine will play a significant role in ensuring all people have access to quality essential health care services and safe, effective and affordable essential medicines as the world approach the ten-year milestone for Sustainable Development Goals in 2030," the release said.

The WHO-GCTM will identify various challenges faced by the countries in regulating, integrating and further positioning Traditional Medicine in these nations, it added.

NNN

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