The world is poised to witness a historic moment as the inaugural WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit unfolds in the vibrant city of Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India, on August 17 and 18, 2023. This momentous event will be intricately interwoven with the G20 health ministerial meeting, a confluence that promises to catalyze political commitment and evidence-driven actions in the realm of traditional medicine. This time-honored practice, serving as a cornerstone of health and well-being for millions across the globe, will step into the spotlight for comprehensive exploration and celebration.
The orchestration of this groundbreaking summit is a collaborative effort between the esteemed World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of India, which presently holds the prestigious presidency of the G20 for the year 2023. This synergy creates an inclusive platform that will bring together a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, ranging from traditional medicine practitioners, users, and communities to national policymakers, international organizations, academia, private sector leaders, and representatives of civil society. The convergence of these voices will lead to the sharing of invaluable insights, groundbreaking evidence, transformative data, and pioneering innovations, all of which underscore the indispensable role of traditional medicine in nurturing health and driving sustainable development.
Rooted in centuries of wisdom and cultural heritage, traditional and complementary medicine has woven itself seamlessly into the fabric of households and communities worldwide. While charting new territories in medicine and science, it has laid the bedrock for modern medical paradigms. Astoundingly, nearly 40% of contemporary pharmaceutical products trace their origins back to nature. Moreover, pivotal medical breakthroughs, such as aspirin, artemisinin, and pediatric cancer treatments, find their origins in traditional medicine practices. Embracing the wave of technological advancement, disciplines like genomics and artificial intelligence are merging with this ancient wisdom. Flourishing industries centered around herbal medicines, natural products, health, wellness, and holistic travel are taking flight, expanding the reach and impact of traditional medicine.
As the world’s interest and demand for traditional medicine surge, the World Health Organization, fortified by the unwavering support of the Government of India, unveiled the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in March 2022. This pivotal knowledge hub is on a mission to harmonize timeless wisdom with contemporary science, forging a path toward improved health and well-being for people and the planet. Operating with a steadfast focus on partnership, evidence, data, biodiversity, and innovation, the Centre is determined to maximize traditional medicine’s contribution to universal health coverage, sustainable development, and global well-being. All of this is accomplished while upholding the foundational principles of respect for local heritage, resources, and rights.
Director-General of WHO: Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus