WHO holds first traditional medicine summit

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) first summit on traditional medicine started on Thursday, ringing warning bells that healing thats coming through  natural products can be relied on only if those products are proved in science. Natural  medicines are a “first port of call for millions of people worldwide”, the United Nations health agency said, with conversations in India igniting collaboration in policymakers and academics which have a goal to “mobilise political commitment and evidence-based action” towards them.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said traditional medicine could increase  healthcare “access gaps”, but was precious and required  only if used “accurately, effectively, and most importantly, securely  based on most recent scientific proof”, in a statement ahead of the conference. The two-day WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit takes place alongside a meeting of Group of 20 health ministers in the Indian city of Gandhinagar in Gujarat state. “Growing science on traditional medicine should be held to the same meticulous standards equal to the differential fields of health,” WHO research chief John Reeder said in a statement.

“This may need fresh thinking on the methodologies to encounter these more holistic, contextual approaches and give proof that is sufficiently conclusive and robust to lead to policy recommendations.” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to open the WHO conference via a video message, has several times highlighted the health benefits of yoga, extolling it as a “panacea” for stress and even hate. The summit, set to become a yearly event, follows the opening in 2022 of a WHO Global Centre for Traditional Medicine, also in Gujarat.