Gandhinagar: Praising India for its “rich history” of traditional medicine like Ayurveda and yoga, WHO chief Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus on Thursday stressed the need to integrate this ancient medicinal knowledge into the national health system of countries.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization was speaking after inaugurating WHO’s first-ever Global Summit on Traditional Medicine in Gandhinagar as part of the G20 Health Minister’s Meetings commenced at the Mahatma Mandir convention centre.
“India has a rich history of traditional medicine through Ayurveda, including yoga, which has been shown to be effective in alleviating pain. The Gujarat Declaration, the main outcome of this summit, will focus on integration of traditional medicines in national health systems, and help unlock the power of traditional medicine through science,” he said.
On the occasion, Dr Ghebreyesus lauded India for its efforts to provide healthcare to all through its umbrella scheme of Ayushman Bharat. He visited an Ayushman Bharat wellness centre in Gandhinagar on Wednesday.
At the centre, the WHO chief said, he saw how traditional medicine is integrated at the primary healthcare level.
“One of the great strengths of traditional medicine is the understanding of links between the health of humans and our environment. That’s why WHO is committed to unlock the potential of traditional medicines through the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar,” he said.
Dr Ghebreyesus urged the participants to use the event as a starting point for a global movement to unlock the potential of traditional medicine through science and innovation.
“Traditional medicine is as old as humanity. Throughout history, people in all countries and cultures had used traditional healers, remedies and ancient medicines and medicinal knowledge for their well-being,” the WHO chief said.
According to him, traditional medicine is not a thing of the past because there is a growing demand for them across countries, communities and cultures.
Later during the day, Dr Ghebreyesus attended the inaugural ceremony of “One Earth One Health – Advantage Healthcare India 2023” conference, which was attended by delegates from nearly 70 countries.
In his address at the event, the WHO chief informed the audience that he heard about Ayurveda for the first time from his Indian teachers when he was a student in Ethiopia.
On the occasion, he also highlighted India’s adoption of telemedicine, which not only expands health service delivery but also saves time and money for patients.
“I visited an Ayushman Bharat Wellness Centre yesterday and I saw how a health worker was using telemedicine to take instructions from a doctor online for the patient sitting at the centre. That can be done globally. It will help patients who cannot travel long distances. I want to thank India for its leadership on digital health,” he said.

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