India Heads the Global Wellness Prescription!

After globally highlighting Yoga as a viable tool for healthy living, India is now in the forefront of yet another wellness movement. One that could become a game-changer for countries across the world with limited access to modern systems of medicine, but rich in their traditional systems of medicine.

Conventionally, a nation”™s wellness has been measured in terms of the Human Development Index (HDI). HDI assesses a country”™s social and economic achievements in terms of people”™s health, educational levels and their standard of living.

However, over the years, several other indices have been introduced and now, India is taking the lead in trying to get BRICS nations to come up with a Wellness Index.

This was the thrust of several brainstorming sessions at a 2-day BRICS Wellness Workshop held during 10 ““ 11 September 2016, at Bengaluru. The Workshop was organized by the Ministry of AYUSH along with Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS). The event saw the enthusiastic participation of health and wellness experts and Secretary level officers hailing from BRICS countries.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Workshop, Shri. Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals drew attention to the important role played by traditional systems of medicine in ensuring primary health care for all. People in remote areas of the world may not have access to modern system of medicine but that need not mean a lack of health care if they learn to harness the power of their ethnomedicine. He emphasized that now is the time to explore the establishment of an organization under the WHO to promote the global usage of traditional medicines.

A document titled “Health, Nature and Quality of Life” authored by RIS, a Delhi think tank, was released to mark this event. Shri. Sachin Chaturvedi, Director-General RIS expressed a hope that BRICS governments would consider the aspects highlighted in the Workshop to redefine their views of growth.

Development of such a Wellness Index by BRICS countries could also pave the way to open up new markets for companies manufacturing healthcare products under the AYUSH umbrella and help them garner a larger share of the $62 billion world herbal market.

Alongside the Workshop, the AYUSH Ministry also organized an AROGYA Fair. This provided a platform to BRICS nation companies involved in manufacturing and importing raw materials as well as formulations based on traditional systems of medicine. Indian traditional medicines were widely represented in the fair, allowing visitors to have a firsthand experience of AYUSH products.

Anusuya Suresh