(SpicyIP Tidbit) India signs Landmark Collaboration Agreement with WHO to promote Traditional Medicine Systems

In a press release dated 14th May 2016, the Ministry of AYUSH has declared that it has inked a major collaboration agreement with the World Health Organization “for cooperation on promoting the quality, safety and effectiveness of service provision in traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM)”. This historic Project Collaboration Agreement (PCA) will operate between 2016 and 2020. It will be seminal in the creation of the first ever WHO benchmark document for training in Yoga and similar WHO benchmark documents for the practice of Ayurveda, Unani and Panchakarma.  Readers can know more about the Ministry’s take on these systems here.

In approving this agreement, the Union Cabinet has stated in a previous press release that “the long-term collaboration… would help in improving international acceptability and branding of Ayush systems… facilitating awareness regarding AYUSH systems of medicine, skill development, workshops, publications… [encouraging] advocacy and dissemination of information on AYUSH systems amongst the Member States.”  The Union Cabinet also clarified that the expenditure for carrying out the said collaborative activities will be met from the allocated budget under the existing plan schemes of the AYUSH Ministry.

Interestingly, the Union Cabinet had stated that the AYUSH Ministry and WHO will (in addition to the preparing benchmark training and practice documents) also work towards the development of the WHO publication on the basic terminologies for T&CM, a database for T&CM practitioners across the world and of a network of international regulatory cooperation for T&CM practice. Hopefully these initiatives will also find their spot in the PCA.

AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik also highlighted India’s priority for and commitment towards achieving its goals under the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023; which aims at encouraging member States to develop proactive policies and action plans to “strengthen the role traditional medicine plays in keeping populations healthy”. In particular, the Ministry believes that this agreement will facilitate the inclusion of Ayurveda and Unani in the International Classification of Diseases and International Classification of Health Interventions.

P.S. Image from here.

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Ritvik M Kulkarni

Ritvik Kulkarni is a final year student at ILS Law College, Pune. He is the Student Coordinator of the ILS Intellectual Property Rights Cell and Student Editor at the ILS Abhivyakti Law Journal since 2014-15. Ritvik first learnt of IP while preparing for his first moot; and has been regularly taking his weekly IP fix ever since. Additionally, he takes interest in learning the law and practice of domestic and international dispute settlement. Speaking of disputes, he's an ardent follower and jabra fan of Game of Thrones. You can get in touch with him at [email protected]; and dont worry he loves F.R.I.E.N.D.S too.

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