India’s AYUSH and WHO sign US$3.5m deal to advance Ayurveda

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (3rd from right), director general of WHO signing the documents with Shri Rajiv K Chander (2nd from right), ambassador and permanent representative of India to the UN. © Ministry of AYUSH
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (3rd from right), director general of WHO signing the documents with Shri Rajiv K Chander (2nd from right), ambassador and permanent representative of India to the UN. © Ministry of AYUSH

Related tags: India, Ayurveda, AYUSH

India’s Ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have signed a deal worth US$3.5m for advancing traditional medicine systems, including Ayurveda.

The project will develop and include the diagnostic terminologies of traditional medicines well-known in India, including Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha, into WHO’s ICD-11 platform in the next four years.

The ICD-11 platform, otherwise known as the International Classification of Diseases, is a foundation for healthcare professionals to share health trends and statistics worldwide.

According to a statement from AYUSH, the project aims to provide internationally measurable criteria for assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of these traditional medicine systems when used in the treatment and management of various conditions.

It also aims to develop the analysing, coding, and understanding of the three traditional medical systems in terms of their use in the society.

The signing ceremony was conducted by director general of WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Shri Rajiv K Chander, the ambassador and permanent representative of India to the United Nations at WHO headquarters in mid Feb.

Ayurveda, Unani, and Siddha are the key areas which AYUSH – a relatively new government ministry which is running for the 6th​ year – looks after. Its aim is to ensure the optimal development and propagation of alternative traditional medicine.  

In its 2019 year-end review, AYUSH said there were 140 classical medicines for 70 conditions have been validated for their clinical safety and efficacy last year. 

Reviving alternative practice

AYUSH has been partnering different professional organisations to boost the use of alternative traditional medicine.

Just last year, it signed an MoU with India’s premier research agency, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The duo will pursue research in AYUSH specific diagnostic tools; multi-ingredient herbal formulations, including the standardisation.

They will also explore the modern scientific methods for integration with traditional Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM).

Before this, CSIR and AYUSH have supported each other in the development of improved varieties and captive cultivation of the medicinal plants including rare, engendered and threatened (RET) species and Pharmacopoeial standards.

The growing interest in traditional medicine worldwide has led to the need for multi-pronged and innovative approach for accepting this system, said Rajesh Kotecha, secretary of AYUSH during the MoU signing.

On the other hand, FSSAI last year also announced its collaboration with AYUSH​ on developing standards for traditional ayurvedic foods as part of the food supplements and nutraceutical regulations, or to design a separate set of regulations.

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