PM Modi lays foundation stone of WHO Traditional Medicine Center in Jamnagar

Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday laid the cornerstone of the WHO World Center for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar, Gujarat. World Health Organization Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth were present at the event. The Indian-led center will be the first and only global outpost of traditional medicine across the globe, aiming to become an international hub for global wellness.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the stone laying ceremony of the WHO World Center for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar Gujarat on Tuesday. In his inaugural address, he claimed that the center at Jamnagar came as a recognition of India‘s contribution and potential in the field of traditional medicine. “This partnership between India and WHO in building this center is a respect towards India’s contribution as well as its potential in the field of traditional medicine,” Prime Minister Modi said.

Modi said Jamnagar’s contributions to well-being will get a global identity with the WHO World Center for Traditional Medicine. He highlighted the role played by the Ayurveda Teaching and Research Institute established in Jamnagar five decades ago. He said staying disease-free could be an important aspect of life, but overall “well-being” should be the ultimate goal. “We have learned first hand the importance of well-being in the time of Covid-19. The world now expects new paradigms in the “delivery of health care”, Modi added.

The Prime Minister added that the facility will bring together ancient wisdom and modern science during the inauguration of the WHO World Center for Traditional Medicine in Jamnagar.

Highlighting India’s contribution to medicine, Prime Minister Modi said, “India’s traditional medicine system is not limited to treatment. It is a holistic science of life. The science of Ayurveda goes beyond mere healing and treatment and also looks at mental health, social health, and environmental health. To fight against diabetes, depression and obesity and other disorders, the Indian tradition of yoga helps the world in many ways.

In his speech, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, who is on a three-day visit to India, expressed deep appreciation to India for its contributions in health and medicine. He started in Gujarati by asking, “Kem Cho Badha? (how are you all) which dazzled the audience to applause.

Ghebreyesus stressed that the center will help harness the power of science by strengthening evidence-based traditional medicine. “I am grateful to Prime Minister Modi and the Indian government for their leadership in supporting this important initiative,” the WHO chief said.

During his speech, he added his connection to India and his interactions with Indian wisdom during his time at university. “My Indian teachers taught me well about traditional medicines, for which I am very grateful. He added that he had a good knowledge of the benefits of traditional medicines and Indian practices, which were introduced to him by his Indian teachers during biology lessons. Ghebreyesus pointed out that he loves watching Bollywood movies, especially those filmed in the Swiss Alps and that “Mother India” remains his favorite Hindi film so far.

“I thank PM Modi for the investment of $250 million to establish the center with an interim office and a 10-year commitment for running costs. From the day I spoke to PM Modi, his commitment was incredible and I knew this center would be in good hands,” added Dr Tedros. The WHO chief said: “This is a truly global project, it means India will go to the world and the whole world will come to India.”

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus then listed a 5-point program the center should work on. WHO’s 5 main points were:

  1. Leadership and partnership in working with our global networks.
  2. Expand knowledge of traditional medicine by expanding clinical trials.
  3. Data and analysis: reliable WHO data will help to understand the use of traditional medicine.
  4. Addressing issues affecting the sustainability of biodiversity and other similar issues.
  5. Innovation and technology: help from artificial intelligence which has already started mapping patterns for the OMS application.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering and Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba attended the event via online links. Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and AYUSH Minister Sarbananda Sonowal were also present at the inauguration.