WHO setting up its first global centre for traditional medicine in India: Modi


A day after Indian Medical Association questioned the government for promoting ayurvedic tablet Coronil as a treatment for Covid, Prime Minister Narendra Modi backed the Indian traditional medicine sector saying it had gained prominence on the world stage and needed to focus harder on global demands of research and quality.

The PM also cited how the WHO is in the process of establishing its first global centre for traditional medicine in India after “watching the strength of the sector”.

Indian traditional medicines are herbal based and not harmful at all; rest assured on safety, the PM said amid a controversy after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan attended the launch of Patanjali’s ‘Coronil’ which the producers touted as the first evidence-based medicine for Covid. Patanjali’s Ramdev even claimed WHO approval for the herbal drug but the WHO later tweeted to dissociate itself from any such move saying it had neither reviewed nor certified any traditional medicine for Covid.

“Our Ayush network has performed incredibly well in Covid times, not just to boost immunity but also for scientific research. Ayush infrastructure has helped the country a lot. Along with Indian drugs and vaccines our spices and ‘kadas’ have contributed immensely and the world is experiencing their benefits. Our traditional medicine has made a place on the world stage,” the PM said on Tuesday as he interacted with stakeholders on health budget provisions which he described as unprecedented.

The PM said people involved in production of traditional medicine and those engaged in ayurveda must focus globally.

“Like the world is accepting yoga, it is also moving towards holistic health and wants a side-effect-free health system. Indian traditional medicine is herbal based and its attraction can rise rapidly. These medicines are not harmful. Rest assured. Watching the strength of our traditional medicine the WHO is setting up its global centre of traditional medicine in India. They have even announced it and the government is working on it. It is now our responsibility to take this reputation to the world,” said the PM.

The PM said his government unlike the previous ones was looking at health as a holistic sector.

“The health budget allocation is unprecedented and shows our commitment to ensuring accessible and affordable health treatment to all,” the PM said adding that the world was watching the Indian health sector.

He said Indian medicines and devices had gained global trust and reputation during Covid times. He asked the industry whether India could become the hub of cost-effective production of medical devices the world wanted.

“Our doctors, nurses and paramedics are set to be in huge demand and, therefore, the possibilities of foreigners wanting to study medicine in India are bound to increase. We should promote that,” the PM said, mentioning four schemes the government has launched to reduce India’s import dependence on raw materials for drugs and devices.

“We have to aim self-reliance in raw materials for drug and medical device development. We have experienced the negative results of depending on foreign devices in the past,” he said, adding that the government seeks to take health accessibility to the last mile just as it ensures the last person in the country exercises his adult franchise.

The PM said the new PM Atma Nirbhar Swastha Bharat Scheme seeks to strengthen Indian health sector to respond to future pandemics. He said the Covid experiences would be tweaked to eradicate TB by 2025.


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