Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Anant Kumar mooted for a world organisation of traditional medicine at the two-day BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) wellness workshop held in Bengaluru on Saturday.
"We must take the initiative to form such a forum under the World Health Organisation, as BRICS countries represent 40 per cent of the world's population and India leads in traditional medicine alongside China. How long are we to let WHO handhold us?" said Anant Kumar, urging Minister of State for AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik to pursue it.
"The two-year-old AYUSH ministry is now internationally more acclaimed than the ministry of civil aviation. The World Yoga Day celebration was one such instance," said Kumar.
"AYUSH effort is to tackle the current challenges like dengue and chikungunya with integrated medicines," said Naik, addressing the event jointly organised by Ministry of Ayush, Ministry of External Affairs and Karnataka government, as a run up to the BRICS Summit to be held in Goa on October 15 and 16.
Calling for mainstreaming traditional medicine systems, Dr H.R. Nagendra, chancellor of S-Vyasa University, Bengaluru said, "India needs a policy for an integrated health system. The healthcare delivery system should not be restricted to allopathy alone as it does not ensure total healing and cure. Ayush and even Chinese medicine are effective systems, which can tackle the growing burden of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart ailments, migraine, epilepsy, asthma among others."
Although the ministry of AYUSH was formed on November 9, 2014, efforts to integrate traditional medicine into mainstream system started way back in 2006, noted Nagendra.
On the occasion, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravishankar warned against the perils of untreated depression, which he said would be one of the leading causes of suicide by 2020. "BRICS countries should have a happiness index. There is a difference between sickness and unwellness. While sick people do not disturb others, someone who is not well can be a threat to peace," said Ravi Shankar.
While Brazil hoped to set up an Ayurveda research centre to counter western influences, India is working on globalising Ayurveda and has set up the Ayurveda chair in various varsities in Trinidad & Tobago, Hungary and Thailand and will soon have one each in Russia, Indonesia, Slovenia, Latvia and Armenia. The countries shared their approach, laws and policies to integrate the traditional medicine systems and to boost evidence-based research in these disciplines.