Government takes steps to upgrade traditional medicine system: Minister

Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma encourages stronger partnership between Bangladesh and India in the area of traditional medicine

Published : 12 Feb 2024 03:47 PM

Religious Affairs Minister Md. Faridul Haque Khan on Sunday said that the government has taken  far-reaching plans for upgrading  Unani-Ayurvedic treatment and education in the country. 

He made this remark while addressing at a function jointly organized by Hamdard Laboratories (Waqf) Bangladesh and Hamdard University marking the World Unani Day 2024 in the capital Dhaka.

The minister said, the draft Unani-Ayurvedic Medical Education Act has been finalized for the expansion of higher education in the sector. 

Adequate allocations have been made for research activities in the development of medical procedures, he continued.

A lab has been set up under the Directorate of Drug Administration. Through this lab, it will be possible to prepare medicines while maintaining the quality of traditional medicines and meet the needs of the country and export them to the outside world, the minister continued.

Md. Faridul Haque Khan also said, traditional medicine is a part of the history and cultural heritage of our country. Realizing the importance of traditional medicine in protecting public health, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had announced a 12-member committee to establish the Board of Unani and Ayurvedic System of Medicine through a gazette notification on 5 July 1972.  He also said that a milestone was created in the field of traditional medicine in this country in 1999 under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

In that year, for the first in the country’s history, 33 Unani, Ayurvedic and Homeo doctors were appointed in the district level  hospitals  to integrate  the system  into mainstream health system.

Currently these  traditional medical services are being provided in 200 Upazila Health Complexes, 58 District Hospitals and 12 Medical College Hospitals across the country and necessary medicines are being provided free of cost.

Herbal manuals, pharmacopoeias and treatment guidelines have been prepared and supplied by the Department of Health, the minister described.

Highlighting India's success in traditional medicine, Religious Affairs  Minister Faridul Haque Khan said India has emerged as a global leader in Unani medicine system due to its wide network of quality educational institutions, extensive healthcare facilities, sophisticated research institutes and quality drug manufacturing industry and large number of people using it for their healthcare needs. 

He sought the cooperation from Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Bangladesh and India in 2014 for the development of traditional medicine in Bangladesh. 

Besides, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina requested the government of India to expedite the proposal for joint research with WHO Global Medicine Centre, he recalled.

Highlighting the initiative of the World Health Organization for the development of traditional medicine, the Minister  also said that the WHO has established the WHO Global Traditional Medicine Center in  India in 2022 under the auspices of the government of India.

The government of India is providing USD 250 million assistance for setting up this medicine center. This institute will act as a knowledge center for traditional medicine. All member states of the World Health Organization will benefit from this, he went on.

India's High Commissioner in Bangladesh Pranay Verma was present as guest of honour. Among others, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Professor  Dr Pran Gopal Datta MP , National Professor Dr. AK Azad Khan also addressed the function. High Commissioner Pranay Verma focused on traditional medicine in Sunday’s discourse about holistic healthcare and encouraged stronger partnership between  Bangladesh and India in the area of traditional medicine.