Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) in Jamnagar on April 19 in the presence of the Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO). GCTM will be the first and only global outpost center for traditional medicine across the world. It will emerge as an international hub of global wellness. Video messages from the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and the President of Maldives were played on the occasion. Union Ministers Dr Mansukh Mandavia, Sabananda Sonowal, Munjapara Mahendrabhai and Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendrabhai Patel were among those present.
Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO) thanked Prime Minister Modi for his leadership in providing all the support for the establishment of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar. The DG termed the center as a truly global project as 107 WHO member countries have their country-specific governmental offices which means the world will come to India for its leadership in traditional medicine. He said traditional medicines products are abound globally and the center will go a long way in bringing the promise of the traditional medicine to fruition. For many regions of the world, traditional medicine is the first line of treatment. The New Centre will focus on data, innovation, and sustainability and will optimize the use of traditional medicine, he added. The center’s five main areas will be research and leadership, evidence and learning, data and analytics, sustainability and equity and innovation and technology, said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.
The Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth also thanked the Prime Minister for associating Mauritius with the occasion. He highlighted the importance of the indigenous medical system and herbal products in various cultures. He said that there could not have been more opportune time than now for establishing the center. He underlined the personal contribution of the Modi in taking leadership in the establishment of the Centre. “We are extremely grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, the Government of India and the Indian people for this generous contribution,” said Pravind Kumar Jugnauth. He also gave details of legislative recognition to Ayurveda in Mauritius since 1989. He also thanked Gujarat for providing scholarships to students from Mauritius for studying Ayurvedic medicine in Jamnagar.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi thanked Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus for his kind words. The Prime Minister noted Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus’s connection with India and his personal involvement in the project of WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM). He said that his affection has manifested in the shape of the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine. The Prime Minister assured the DG that his expectations from India will be met.
“The WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine is a recognition of India’s contribution and potential in this field”. He further declared “India takes this partnership as a huge responsibility for serving the entire humanity,” said Modi.
Expressing happiness about the venue of the WHO Center, Modi said “Jamnagar’s contributions towards wellness will get a global identity with WHO’s Global Centre for Traditional Medicine.” Modi said that more than five decades ago the world’s first Ayurvedic University was established in Jamnagar. The city has a quality Ayurvedic institute in the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda.
The Prime Minister emphasized that our ultimate goal should be of attaining wellness. He said while staying disease-free may be an important part of life but the ultimate goal has to be wellness. The importance of wellness, said Modi, was keenly felt during the pandemic period. “The world is looking for a new dimension of health care delivery today. “I am happy that by giving the slogan ‘One planet our health’ WHO has promoted the Indian vision of ‘One Earth, One Health.’”
Modi said “India’s traditional medicine system is not limited to treatment. It is a holistic science of life.” Ayurveda goes beyond just healing and treatment said Modi and elaborated that in Ayurveda, apart from healing and treatment; social health, mental health-happiness, environmental health, sympathy, compassion and productivity are included. “Ayurveda is taken as the knowledge of life and it has been deemed as fifth Veda,” he said. Good health is directly related to a balanced diet, said the Prime Minister. He explained that our ancestors considered diet as half of the treatment and our medical systems are replete with dietary advice. Modi said that it is a matter of immense pride for India that 2023 has been chosen as the International Year of Millets by the United Nations. He said that this step will prove to be beneficial for humanity.
Modi noted the rising demand for Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani formulations globally as many countries are stressing the traditional medicine for dealing with the pandemic. Similarly, Yoga is gaining popularity across the world. Modi pointed out that Yoga is proving immensely useful in fighting diseases like diabetes, obesity and depression. Yoga is also helping people in reducing mental tension and find balance in mind-body and consciousness.
The Prime Minister laid down five goals for the new Center. First, to create a database of traditional knowledge systems using technology; second, GCTM can create international standards for testing and certification of traditional medicines so that confidence in these medicines improves. Third, GCTM should evolve as a platform where global experts of traditional medicines come together and share experiences. He also asked the center to explore the possibility of an annual traditional medicine festival. Fourth, GCTM should mobilize funding for research in the field of traditional medicines. Finally, GCTM should develop protocols for the holistic treatment of specific diseases so that patients could benefit from both traditional and modern medicine.
Modi invoked the Indian concept of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’ and prayed for the whole world to always remain healthy. He said that with the establishment of WHO-GCTM, this tradition will get further enriched.