Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH and Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region, signed a Letter of Exchange for the deputation of an AYUSH expert to WHO's regional traditional medicine program in New Delhi.
The initiative has been taken to support the WHO-SEARO implementing the regional traditional medicine action plan, with particular emphasis on the safe and effective use of traditional medicine service including Ayurveda and other Indian traditional systems of medicine and its appropriate integration into national health care systems.
Efforts will also be made to strengthen capacities of SEAR countries in the area of traditional medicine, said ministry officials in a statement.
At the ceremony to mark the start of this partnership, WHO South East Asia Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said, "The close collaboration of WHO and the Government of India goes back many decades, to the Basic Agreement both parties concluded on July 16, 1952, to fulfil mutual responsibilities in a spirit of friendly cooperation. Today's agreement will formally extend this cooperation into the area of traditional medicine, which is a valuable tool in our shared quest to achieve universal health coverage."
Secretary Kotecha said that AYUSH has already had various interactions with WHO in the field of Ayurveda, Yoga and other Indian traditional systems of medicine and these Indian systems are getting more popular and being accepted as medicinal systems in South-East Asian countries, Africa, Europe, Latin America and others.
As a major outcome of this partnership, Ministry of AYUSH and WHO would be working to identify various challenges faced by the member states of SEAR (region) in regulating, integrating and further promoting traditional systems of medicine in the respective countries.
Ministry of AYUSH and WHO will assist member states to develop appropriate policy, regulation framework, exchange of information, activities performed for integration of traditional medicine in public health and dissemination of information to the community, said the AYUSH secretary.
The Ministry of AYUSH and the WHO SEAR office also agreed to launch a public health research project on COVID-19. The project is jointly supported by WHO-SEARO and the Ministry of AYUSH.