This week, the first worldwide Traditional Medicine Summit, organized by the UN agency for health, WHO, began in the Indian city of Gandhinagar with an emphasis on exchanging data and best practices in this area.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke at the event on Thursday and emphasized the “enormous” contributions traditional medicine has made to human health as well as its comprehension of the “intimate links” between health and the environment.
Tedros emphasized the significance of the gathering forhealth and well-being of people and planet.
(WTO), echoed him when he remarked that traditional medicine and contemporary treatment are complimentary rather than competing with one another.
origins of modern medicine in antiquity
The WHO director recalled that traditional medicine was “as old as humanity itself” and pointed out that many contemporary pharmaceuticals have their origins in traditional medical procedures.
He provided the example of how Sumerians and Egyptians employed willow bark more than 3,500 years ago as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. “Then, in 1897, the chemist Felix Hoffmann synthesized aspirin, and the drug has since gone on every day,” Tedros stated.
He also mentioned the discovery of sweet wormwood’s usage in treating fevers in traditional Chinese medical literature, which occurred in China in 1971 and led to a breakthrough in the treatment of malaria. As a result, her team was able to isolate the drug artemisinin, which is now the “backbone” of the treatment for malaria.
Traditional medicine is not a thing of the past, the WHO Director-General emphasized; rather, demand for it is rising around the globe. He emphasized its significance for non-communicable illness prevention and treatment, healthy aging, and mental wellness.
This is not a new issue for WHO, he noted, adding that a new strategy will be created by 2025. In 2014, the organization’s Member States approved the first global ten-year strategy for traditional medicine.
incorporating conventional medicine
Tedros stated that the summit and the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine, which was established in the Indian city of Jamnagar last year, are two ways in which the UN organization is striving to “inform policies, standards, and regulations for the safe, cost-effective, and equitable use” of conventional treatments.
He asked nations to consider the best ways to integrate complementary and alternative medicine into their healthcare systems and to “unlock [its] power through science and innovation.”
According to the WHO director, the Gujarat Declaration, which is anticipated to be adopted at the summit’s conclusion, has the potential to improve the “appropriate integration” of traditional medicine into state-provided healthcare.
According to a statement made by WHO on the social media site X, their mission is to “bring evidence and scientific validation around traditional medicine” so that the millions of people who use it throughout the world “understand whether it’s safe and effective and are better protected.”
According to the agency, “Traditional medicine has the potential to close [healthcare access] gaps for millions around the world when scientifically validated.”
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