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Report from the International Exhibition and Conference on AYUSH and Wellness , New Delhi.
Earlier this month I attended the 1st International Exhibition and
Conference on AYUSH and Wellness in New Delhi. Organised by the Ministry of
AYUSH, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Indian
Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the four-day event showcased India’s
traditional systems of medicines to the world.
Attended by 250 local manufacturers and international delegates from
over 70 countries, the objective of the event was to promote the Indian systems
of medicine at a global level and create opportunities for strategic
partnerships between India and other countries.
The main features of the event were an exhibition of ayurvedic manufacturers
from across India, a plenary conference where policy makers, regulators and key
international stakeholders met to discuss the opportunities and challenges in
the complementary health sector and one on one meeting between local
manufacturers and international buyers.
The conference was opened by the Honourable Minister for AYUSH, Mr.
Shripad Yesso Naik, who welcomed delegates and acknowledged the number of participants
as testament to the growing interest in alternative medicine.
He noted that allopathic medicine has failed to effectively address
all the health issues of humanity which is why Ayurveda, with its holistic
approach to health, has proven so popular.
He urged more cooperation between all countries to continue this
growth, with careful attention being given to sustainable development,
multi-dimensional policies, and an evidence based approach to research into the
benefits of Ayurveda.
The keynote address at the Conference was delivered by Secretary of
the Ministry of AYUSH, Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha. He also acknowledged the large number
of participants and stressed the Indian Government’s commitment to the
continued growth of complementary health He said that herbs and herbal
formulations are a major export from India but that a large number of Ayurvedic
products are yet to be promoted, which is a huge opportunity for the industry. In
pursuit of this goal, he announced that AYUSH have signed research agreements
with 28 countries, including the U.S and Germany. He also encouraged and
welcomed international students to enrol in the AYUSH courses in India.
The inaugural session was wrapped up by Mr. G. Geetha Krishnan,
AYUSH expert at the World Health Organisation. He pointed out that 20% of the
world population depend on traditional systems of medicine for their primary
health care, while in India this increases to almost 80%. This places a great
responsibility on AYUSH, both in caring for its own people and providing an
effective health care model to the rest of the world.
He said around $207 trillion is spent on healthcare by the U.S. alone
and he suggested more of this money should be channelled to traditional
medicine, which is proving to be more effective against a number of
non-communicable and lifestyle diseases.
I was invited to the event as a panellist at one of the plenary
sessions, “International Regulators Meets”, organised to create a constructive
dialogue between international regulators and key stakeholders from across the
world. Here I had the opportunity to speak about the changes to the regulation
of complementary health products in Australia and New Zealand.
I was honoured to
have the opportunity to address this conference and meet with Government
officials, growers and manufacturers to discuss my concerns. My belief is that
the Indian Government is very keen to encourage this local industry into the
international marketplace, not just for its economic benefits but for the
benefits the world can experience from this ancient healing science.