‘Gujarat Declaration to boost traditional medicine potential’

Sep 05: The World Health Organization (WHO) has released the outcome document of the first WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023 in the form of the “Gujarat Declaration”. The declaration reaffirmed global commitments towards indigenous knowledge, biodiversity and traditional, complementary and integrative medicine. WHO underlined that the application of rigorous scientific methods is needed to better understand, assess and, where appropriate, apply more holistic, context-specific, complex and personalized approaches for health and well-being for all.

It reiterates that India as host of the WHO Global Traditional Medicine Centre at Jamnagar, Gujarat has an important role in scaling up WHO’s capacities to support member states and stakeholders in taking forward the summit action agenda and other relevant priorities.

The action points of the day of WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023 held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat are based on the evidence, discussions and outcomes presented at the Summit. Deliberations were done on varied topics like Health and well-being of people and the planet, research and evidence, universal health coverage, primary health care and health systems, Data & routine information systems, digital health frontiers, biodiversity and sustainability, human rights, equity and ethics.

Union minister Ayush Shri Sarbananda Sonowal had said, “Gujarat declaration is testimony of our prime minister Shri Narendra Modi’s commitment to promote our ancient knowledge of Traditional Medicine system. Through collaborative efforts and sustainable practices, we can ensure a healthier future for generations to come.”

During the WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit, Director General of the World Health Organization Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “Gujarat Declaration” will serve as a catalyst to harness the potential of traditional medicine through the lens of science and will focus on the integration of traditional medicines in national health systems and help unlock the power of traditional medicine.

Gujarat declaration talks about scaling up efforts to further implement evidence-based TCIM (Traditional complementary integrative medicine) interventions and approaches in support of the goal of universal health coverage (UHC) and all health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It states the role of multi-regional, multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaborations demonstrated at the Global Summit through the WHO GCTM that is aligned with and complementary to the work of WHO major offices, to maximize evidence-based benefits of TCIM in global health.

Support the evidence-based integration in national health policies and systems based on the highest quality research. Accelerate the production, regulation, and formal utilization of scientifically proven TCIM products and practices. Advance policies that promote standardized TCIM documentation, including through expanded and accelerated use of the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) to enable integration of evidence and data collection on TCIM in a standardized way within routine health information systems. Establish a global network of TCIM reference clinical centres that can routinely undertake standardized data collection and monitoring based on WHO ICD-11 coding of the implementation.

The highlight of the summit was how to enable the appropriate development and application of digital health technologies, and artificial intelligence (AI) in particular, to advance digital health resources on TCIM for people’s health and well-being.

It mentions that actions should be promoted and taken at all levels to safeguard, restore and sustainably manage biodiversity, and to ensure the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of biodiversity resources, related genetic material and Indigenous knowledge. Fully recognize, respect and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as provided in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Incorporate ethical methods and processes in TCIM research and practice.

The First global summit on Traditional Medicine was organised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and co-hosted by the Ministry of Ayush, from August 17-18, 2023, at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

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