Health experts from the World Health Organisation and 11 countries, including India, will meet in Dhaka next week to devise strategies to expand applications of traditional medicine in national health care services.
The WHO’s Regional Committee for Southeast Asia, meeting from September 10 to 12, will seek strategies to promote high-quality traditional medicines while ensuring that they are regulated and backed by adequate research, WHO officials said.
Traditional medicines have been used for centuries in each of the 11 countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste — that make up WHO’s Southeast Asia Region.
India, Thailand and Sri Lanka are among countries that regulate practitioners of traditional medicine and have formal systems of traditional medicine education.
In 2013, India had over 387,000 registered practitioners of ayurveda and 300,000 practitioners of unani, siddha or homeopathy, regulated by councils for each of these alternative streams of medicine and overseen by the Union health ministry’s AYUSH department.
“Most traditional medicine practitioners in India provide health care services independently and in parallel to the health care delivered through modern medicine,” a WHO official said. “The new initiative seeks to integrate traditional medicine into the health care system.”
The WHO has adopted a 10-year strategy for 2014 to 2023 that seeks to strengthen the safety, quality and effectiveness of traditional medicine drugs through regulation.
India has over 260 colleges that offer undergraduate (BAMS) degrees in ayurveda that can accommodate over 10,000 students. Over 180 colleges offer nearly 12,000 seats each year for the five-year undergraduate degree programmes in homeopathy. [Source]