WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023 

WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023 

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs”, and the topic details “WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023”. The topic “WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023” has relevance in the “Social Justice” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

What is the WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023?
What is the Gujrat Declaration? 

For Mains:

GS2: Social Justice

Why in the news?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued the “Gujarat Declaration,” the outcome document of the first WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023.

WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit

Aim and Theme

  • The summit aims to gather political commitment and evidence-based actions regarding traditional medicine.
  • The WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023 theme was “Towards health and well-being for all.”


Hosts and Stakeholders

  • The event was co-hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Ayush, Government of India, which holds the G20 presidency in 2023.
  • The summit served as a platform for stakeholders, including traditional medicine practitioners, users, communities, policymakers, international organisations, academics, private sector entities, and civil society organisations.
  • These stakeholders shared best practices, evidence, data, and innovations related to traditional medicine’s contribution to health and sustainable development.


Historical Significance of Traditional Medicine

  • Integral Resource:
    • Traditional and complementary medicine has been crucial in household and community healthcare for centuries.
    • It has contributed to the foundations of modern medicine and science, influencing conventional medical practices.
  • Pharmaceutical Impact:
    • Approximately 40% of pharmaceutical products today are based on natural products.
    • Several landmark drugs, such as aspirin, artemisinin, and childhood cancer treatments, originated from traditional medicine.
  • Evolving Research:
    • Ongoing research, including genomics and artificial intelligence, is expanding the field of traditional medicine.
    • Industries related to herbal medicines, natural products, health, wellness, and travel are experiencing growth.


WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine:

  • In March 2022, WHO established the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar under the Ministry of AYUSH, GoI. 
  • The centre serves as a knowledge hub with a mission to blend ancient wisdom and modern science to benefit people and the planet.
  • It enhances WHO’s existing capacity in traditional medicine, supplementing core functions across regional offices and headquarters.
  • Focus Areas of WHO Traditional Medicine Centre
    • Partnership and Collaboration: The centre emphasises partnerships to optimise the role of traditional medicine in global health and sustainable development.
    • Evidence-Based Approach: A commitment to evidence and data guides the centre’s activities.
    • Biodiversity Conservation: The centre acknowledges the importance of biodiversity in traditional medicine.
    • Innovation: It fosters innovation in traditional medicine practices.
    • Respect for Local Heritages and Rights: The centre operates with respect for local heritages, resources, and rights.

Gujarat Declaration

  • The Gujarat Declaration reiterates global commitments to indigenous knowledge, biodiversity, and traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM).
  • WHO emphasizes the need for rigorous scientific methods to understand, assess, and apply holistic, context-specific, and personalized health and well-being approaches.


Key Points of the Gujarat Declaration

  • Supporting Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
    • The declaration calls for efforts to implement evidence-based TCIM interventions and approaches to achieve UHC and health-related SDGs.
    • It underscores the role of multi-regional, multi-disciplinary, and multi-stakeholder collaborations demonstrated at the summit, aligned with WHO’s work.
  • Promoting Research and Regulation:
    • Accelerating the production, regulation, and formal utilisation of scientifically proven TCIM products and practices is emphasised.
    • Policies promoting standardised TCIM documentation are advocated, including using the WHO International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) for data integration.
  • Establishing a Global TCIM Network:
    • The declaration proposes establishing a global network of TCIM reference clinical centres for standardised data collection and monitoring using WHO ICD-11 coding.
  • Harnessing Digital Health and AI:
    • Special attention is given to developing and applying digital health technologies, focusing on artificial intelligence, to advance TCIM resources for health and well-being.
  • Biodiversity and Indigenous Rights:
    • Actions are urged at all levels to safeguard, restore, and sustainably manage biodiversity.
    • The declaration underscores the importance of fair and equitable benefit-sharing from biodiversity resources and indigenous knowledge.
    • It emphasises the recognition, respect, and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples as per the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Ethical Considerations:
    • Ethical methods and processes are encouraged in TCIM research and practice.


Additional Information: 

Term Description
Traditional Medicine
  • Extensive historical background
  • Encompasses collective wisdom, expertise, and cultural customs
  • Used for maintaining overall health and addressing physical and mental ailments.
Complementary Medicine
  • Diverges from a specific country’s established medical tradition
  • Not fully integrated into the dominant healthcare system of that region.
Integrative Medicine
  • Involves the deliberate integration of complementary and alternative medicine components
  • Incorporated into comprehensive treatment plans
  • Combined with conventional methods for diagnosis and treatment.


Sources: ‘Gujarat Declaration’ underlining outcome of the first WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023 released 


Q1. With reference to the Gujarat Declaration, consider the following statements: 

  1. It is the outcome document of the inaugural WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit.
  2. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare co-hosted the Summit.
  3. The declaration emphasises the significance of equitable and fair benefit-sharing from biodiversity resources and indigenous knowledge.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 1 and 3 only

(c) 3 only 

(d) None 

Answer: (b) 


Q2. Consider the following:

  1. WHO has established the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine (WHO-GCTM)  in New Delhi. 
  2. The Government of India supports WHO-GCTM through the Ministry of Ayush. 
  3. The centre is a knowledge hub combining ancient wisdom and modern science to benefit humanity.

How many of the abovementioned statements are correct?

(a) Only one 

(b) Only two 

(c) All three 

(d) None 

Answer: (b)

Q3. Explain the differences between traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM). Analyse the role of the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in advancing TCIM practices.

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