WHO and Ministry of Ayush Sign Agreement to Advance Traditional and Complementary Medicine

WHO and Ministry of Ayush Sign Agreement to Advance Traditional and Complementary Medicine

In a significant move towards integrating Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) into global healthcare, the Ministry of Ayush and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed a Project Collaboration Agreement in Geneva. This agreement aims to standardize TCM practices, ensure their quality and safety, and facilitate their dissemination on an international scale.

The collaboration is aligned with the Traditional Medicine Global Strategy 2025-34, which aims to elevate TCM within the national health framework. The agreement specifically focuses on strengthening training and practice in the field of Siddha, a traditional Indian system of medicine. It also outlines the formulation of guidelines for the listing of TCM medicines, safety protocols, and the development of an International Herbal Pharmacopoeia focusing on herbs found in South-East Asia.

Union Ayush Minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressed his enthusiasm for the agreement, highlighting India’s rich heritage in TCM and its potential to enhance India’s standing in healthcare services globally. He emphasized that this collaboration would also foster medical tourism in India.

Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Ayush Secretary, anticipates that the first phase of the agreement, spanning from 2023 to 2028, will be a milestone in the global development of TCM. Bruce Aylward, Assistant Director General of the WHO, believes that this collaboration will bring TCM into the mainstream of India’s National Health System, contributing to global healthcare and well-being objectives.

Indra Mani Pandey, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, signed the agreement on behalf of the Indian government. He reaffirmed India’s commitment to working with the WHO to strengthen TCM globally, especially in supporting fellow developing countries in promoting their traditional medicine systems.

This marks the third collaboration between the Ministry of Ayush and the WHO, with previous agreements signed in 2016 and 2017 focusing on promoting Yoga, Ayurveda, Unani, and Panchakarma to the global level and strengthening the Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha medical systems, respectively.

The signing of this agreement is a significant step forward in the global recognition and utilization of TCM. By strengthening the evidence base, ensuring quality and safety, and facilitating integration into national health systems, WHO and the Ministry of Ayush aim to harness the potential of TCM to enhance healthcare access and improve patient outcomes around the world.