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WHO Releases ‘Gujarat Declaration’ Following Traditional Medicine Global Summit-2023

WHO emphasized the importance of applying rigorous scientific methods to gain a deeper understanding and, when appropriate, implement more holistic, context-specific, complex, and personalized approaches to healthcare for the benefit of all.

Shivam Dwivedi
WHO Releases ‘Gujarat Declaration’ Following Traditional Medicine Global Summit-2023 (Photo Source: Pexels)
WHO Releases ‘Gujarat Declaration’ Following Traditional Medicine Global Summit-2023 (Photo Source: Pexels)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled the ‘Gujarat Declaration’ as the outcome document of the first-ever WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit held in 2023. This landmark declaration reaffirms global commitments to the preservation of indigenous knowledge, biodiversity, and the promotion of traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM).

India, as the host of the WHO Global Traditional Medicine Centre located in Jamnagar, Gujarat, is set to play a crucial role in expanding WHO's capabilities to support member states and stakeholders in advancing the action agenda resulting from the summit and addressing other relevant priorities.

The two-day WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit, hosted in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, featured deliberations on a wide range of topics, including the health and well-being of both people and the planet, research and evidence, universal health coverage, primary healthcare and health systems, data and routine information systems, digital health advancements, biodiversity, sustainability, human rights, equity, and ethics.

During the WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, emphasized that the "Gujarat Declaration" would serve as a catalyst for harnessing the potential of traditional medicine through the lens of science. It aims to focus on integrating traditional medicines into national health systems and unlocking the power of traditional medicine.

The "Gujarat Declaration" underscores the need to scale up efforts for the evidence-based implementation of TCIM (Traditional Complementary Integrative Medicine) interventions and approaches in support of universal health coverage (UHC) and all health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It highlights the role of multi-regional, multi-disciplinary, and multi-stakeholder collaborations demonstrated at the Global Summit through the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (GCTM) to maximize the evidence-based benefits of TCIM in global health.

Key Action Points:

  1. Supporting evidence-based integration in national health policies and systems based on the highest-quality research.

  2. Accelerating the production, regulation, and formal utilization of scientifically proven TCIM products and practices.

  3. Advancing policies that promote standardized TCIM documentation, including the expanded and accelerated use of the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) for the integration of evidence and data collection on TCIM in routine health information systems.

  4. Establishing a global network of TCIM reference clinical centres capable of standardized data collection and monitoring based on WHO ICD-11 coding.

The summit's focal point was enabling the appropriate development and application of digital health technologies, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), to advance digital health resources for TCIM and improve people's health and well-being.

Furthermore, the "Gujarat Declaration" stresses the importance of actions at all levels to safeguard, restore, and sustainably manage biodiversity while ensuring fair and equitable sharing of the benefits derived from biodiversity resources, related genetic material, and indigenous knowledge. It calls for the full recognition, respect, and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and advocates for ethical methods and processes in TCIM research and practice.

The first-ever Global Summit on Traditional Medicine was organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and co-hosted by the Ministry of Ayush. The historic event took place from August 17 to 18, 2023, in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, marking a significant step forward in the global promotion of traditional and complementary medicine.

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