Why the Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India is good news

  • How will traditional medicine and the world benefit from Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in Gujarat? Why was Jamnagar chosen to have this centre?

In April 2022 Prime Minister Modi and WHO chief Dr Tedros Ghebreyesu announced the WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine at Jamnagar, Gujarat. By 2024 this 35 acre facility is expected to be ready. The facility will work on Ayurveda, Unani, Sidha and focus on traditional medicines and therapies globally. This includes Africa, China and Middle East.


The centre could become a hub for an alternative medicine and attract professionals from across the world. This would give a fillip to the domestic economy and allow countries to benefit from exchange of knowledge.


It would enable traditional medicine to maximise its potential by working with contemporary science and technology and provide for integration of Ayurveda with global medical systems, all for the benefit of humanity.


According to WHO site, “The term traditional medicine describes the total sum of the knowledge, skills and practices indigenous and different cultures have used over time to maintain health and prevent, diagnose and treat physical and mental illness. Its reach encompasses ancient practices such as acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine and herbal mixtures as well as modern medicines.”


“But today, national health systems and strategies do not yet fully integrate the millions of traditional medicine workers, accredited courses, health facilities, and health expenditures.”


“It will concentrate on building a solid evidence base for policies and standards on traditional medicine practices and products and help countries integrate it as appropriate into their health systems and regulate its quality and safety for optimal and sustainable impact. The new centre focuses on four main strategic areas: evidence and learning; data and analytics; sustainability and equity; and innovation and technology to optimize the contribution of traditional medicine to global health and sustainable development.”

Lack of data and evidence, as is acceptable today, is a weakness of traditional medicine. This centre hopes to help overcome that. Decisions makers must note that what differentiates Yoga and Ayurveda from modern medicine is that the former is customised to individual needs, looks at the real cause of an ailment and your body as an integrated being whilst the latter focuses primarily focuses on symptomatic management.

Also read Quality Research Publications in Ayurveda the need of the hour  

According to the Dr G G Gangadharan, a reputed Ayurvedic physician from Bengaluru, “GCTM will give a new identity to Global TMs. And invigorated budget along with long term goals for evidence creation in TMs will happen. Member countries of WHO will directed to involve Traditional medicines more seriously and vigorously. Standards of education will substantially improve. And industry will be boosted with more evidence and quality control measures go encourage export. The Sledpimlng Manuscripts will be unearthed and selectively published. The public health systems will get support from elements of TMs.”

Ayurveda is a preventive therapy. It comes from a different dimension and understanding of life. It goes deep into your system and takes an integrated view of your entire body, including the mind.” When followed with Yoga its effect is gradual and is geared towards making you a healthy person from within having long-term benefits. Source


During speech Modi gave Dr Tedros are a Gujarati name Tulsibhai after the plant Tulsi. Note that India has Ayurveda, Siddha is followed predominantly in Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Sowa-Rigpa in Ladakh and Himalayan regions like Sikkim, Spiti etc. Source


Just like Modi’s declaration of International Day of Yoga was a subtle way of telling the world that Yoga’s origin is Indian so also this Centre reiterates that India is the home of Ayurveda. Also, the approach of the WHO Centre being for the benefit of humanity – fits well with India’s current foreign policy and Indic thought.


Also read WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine


But why Jamnagar?

According to the Gujarat Ayurvedic University, Jamnagar websiteJamnagar, the main seat of princely state of Nawanagar was well known as a seat of oriental studies. It has a long list of renowned Ayurvedic physicians like Zandu Bhattji and Rasa Vaidya Bavabhai Achalji. The rulers of this state have patronised Ayurveda since early days. During the regime of Jam Saheb Digvijay Singhji in 1940's and onwards Dr P.M. Mehta was court physician (trained in western medicine). Dr. Mehta impressed upon the rulers to establish a center for Ayurvedic Studies. Hence, Shri Gulabkunwarba Ayurvedic Society was established in 1940. In 1944 a palacious building was constructed with generous contribution of the King and some other rich persons at the cost of Rs.60,00,000/- and the building was named as Dhanwantari Mandir.

Under the banner of Shri Gulabkunwarba Ayurvedic Society the gigantic job of the translation of 'Charak Sanhita' in three languages i.e. English, Hindi & Gujarati which was published by the society in six volumes. On July 1st 1946 in Jamnagar a college for Ayurvedic Studies was established and named as Shri Gulabkunwarba Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya by the G.K. Ayurvedic Society. Renowned Ayurvedic physician Vaidya Yadavji Trikramaji adorned the college as a first Principal.” 


Jamnagar was already an Ayurveda learning destination. So the government set up The Gujarat Ayurvedic University in 1965. Since Jamnagar is a respected centre for study of Ayurveda the infrastructure exists so easier to establish the WHO Global Centre.   


India is expected to invest $ 250 million to support the centre’s establishment, infrastructure and operations. 2  


Note the author has only compiled information and does not claim to have knowledge of Traditional Medicine.


References and Also read 

1. News18 report on WHO Centre

2. WHO establishes Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India

3. PIB release on occasion of foundation laying of Centre

4. History of Traditional Medicine in India

5. A brief profile of Indian systems of medicine

6. Ayurveda a distinctive approach to health and disease by Dr Rama Jayasundar

7. Integrating Yoga with modern medical system by Dr Ananda Balayogi

8. Is Standardization in Yoga as therapy required by Author

9. Ayurveda and Modern concepts by Dr R D Lele  



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