Recently, Prime Minister along with World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General will perform the ground breaking ceremony for the first-of-its-kind WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar, Gujarat.
GS II- Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is traditional medicine?
- About Global Centre for Traditional Medicine:
- Why has the WHO felt the need to advance knowledge of traditional medicine?
What is traditional medicine?
- The WHO describes traditional medicine as the total sum of the “knowledge, skills and practices indigenous and different cultures have used over time to maintain health and prevent, diagnose and treat physical and mental illness”.
- “Its reach encompasses ancient practices such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine and herbal mixtures as well as modern medicines,”
- Traditional medicine in India is often defined as including practices and therapies — such as yoga, Ayurveda, Siddha — that have been part of Indian tradition historically, as well as others — such as homeopathy — that became part of Indian tradition over the years.
- Ayurveda and yoga are practised widely across the country; the Siddha system is followed predominantly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala; the Sowa-Rigpa system is practised mainly in Leh-Ladakh and Himalayan regions such as Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling, Lahaul & Spiti.
About Global Centre for Traditional Medicine:
- The GCTM will aim to focus on evidence-based research, innovation, and data analysis to optimise the contribution of traditional medicine to global health.
- Its main focus will to develop norms, standards and guidelines in technical areas relating to traditional medicine.
- Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) said it will seek to set policies and standards on traditional medicine products and help countries create a comprehensive, safe, and high-quality health system.
- The GCTM will support efforts to implement the WHO’s Traditional Medicine Strategy (2014-23), which aims to support nations in developing policies & action plans to strengthen the role of traditional medicine in pursuing the goal of universal health coverage.
- According to WHO estimates, 80% of the world’s population uses traditional medicine.
Why has the WHO felt the need to advance knowledge of traditional medicine?
- The WHO says 170 of its 194 WHO Member States have reported the use of traditional medicine, and these member states have asked for its support in creating a body of “reliable evidence and data on traditional medicine practices and products”.
- It says the Jamnagar centre will serve as the hub, and focus on building a “solid evidence base” for policies and “help countries integrate it as appropriate into their health systems”.
The WHO has flagged many challenges faced by traditional medicine:
- For instance, national health systems and strategies do not yet fully integrate traditional medicine workers, accredited courses and health facilities.
- Second, the WHO has stressed the need to conserve biodiversity and sustainability as about 40% of approved pharmaceutical products today derive from natural substances.
- For example, the discovery of aspirin drew on traditional medicine formulations using the bark of the willow tree, the contraceptive pill was developed from the roots of wild yam plants and child cancer treatments have been based on the rosy periwinkle.
- Third, the WHO has referred to modernisation of the ways traditional medicine is being studied. Artificial intelligence is now used to map evidence and trends in traditional medicine. “Functional magnetic resonance imaging is used to study brain activity and the relaxation response that is part of some traditional medicine therapies such as meditation and yoga, which are increasingly drawn on for mental health and well-being in stressful times,”
- Fourth, the WHO has said traditional medicine is also being extensively updated by mobile phone apps, online classes, and other technologies. The GCTM will serve as a hub for other countries, and build standards on traditional medicine practices and products.
-Source: Indian Express