Two-days conference on Unani Medicine begins in grand style 

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Unani  capable of offering solution to modern-day health problems : Dr. Heptulla

By  Abdul Bari Masoud

New Delhi: Terming India as world leader in Unani medicine,  Manipur  Governor and former Union Minister Dr. Najma Heptulla on Monday underlined that  “Unani Medicine is capable of offering  right solutions  for many  present day  health challenges and problems arise out of  lack of treatment and resources. Hailing the effectiveness of Unani medicine,  Minister of State  AYUSH, Shripad Yesso Naik said the minister has taken many a steps to promote Unani Medicine in the country as well as abroad.

Inaugurating  the two-day National Conference on Unani Medicine organized by the Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) as a part of 3rd Unani Day celebration here at Vigyan  Bhavan , Dr. Heptulla enumerated many virtues of Unani system. In her address, she   attributed the success of Unani to its accessibility, affordability and holistic approach towards healthy living. She  also urged the Unani fraternity to progress and evolve with the changing times, adapt to new techniques of health research and contribute new approaches to health management. She said Manipur has the treasure trove of as many as  500 medicinal plants and invited the medical scientists to visit the state for research. Paying  rich tributes to great freedom fighter and savouir of Indian traditional medicines in the face of British onslaught   Hakim Ajmal Khan, whose birth anniversary is now observed  as Unani Day on 11th February every year, she  said he was humane,  a versatile genius, articulate and a remarkable combination of honesty, high idealism and professional skill.

Highlighting the strengths of Unani Medicine and other AYUSH systems, Union Minister for Minority Affairs  Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the AYUSH systems are golden key to health and wellbeing and India is the strongest hub of Traditional Medicine which is one of the reasons medical tourism is flourishing in the country. He stressed on Integration of Unani Medicine in Mainstream Healthcare in line with the government policies and initiatives for mainstreaming of AYUSH in national healthcare system.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (IC), Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, elaborated the present day threats to public health and how capable Unani Medicine has been in aptly maintaining public health. He also expressed his hope that Unani Medicine and other AYUSH systems will come forth to combat the current public health issues. Dr. Singh termed Unani Medicine as an asset to the healthcare delivery system and our traditional knowledge. He stressed the need for a holistic and synergetic pattern of treatment  in which no system overwrite the other.

The conference theme is ‘Unani Medicine for Public Health’.  AYUSH minister  Naik said his ministry has taken measures to promote Unani Medicine in national public healthcare system through regulation of research and integration of quality products, practices, and practitioners into the health system. ‘Our efforts are focused to tap the real potential of AYUSH systems in imparting preventive, promotive and holistic healthcare to the people’, he added.

Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, AYUSH,  urged to adapt Information Technology and informed about the steps taken by the Ministry of AYUSH in the form of National AYUSH Morbidity and Standardized Terminologies Electronic Portal (NAMASTE – PORTAL), initiative for incorporation of AYUSH Morbidity Codes in WHO – ICD 11, AYUSH Grid, use of Social Media and A-HMIS.  He made announcement for allotment of land and allocation of Rs. 250 crore for National Institute of Unani Medicine to be setup in Ghaziabad. He applauded the research endeavors of the CCRUM and its crucial contribution to public health and Unani Medicine.

Earlier in his welcome address, Prof. Asim Ali Khan, Director General, CCRUM said that the Government of India is making concerted efforts to promote and propagate Unani Medicine and other AYUSH systems and has created a separate ministry. He thanked  the  AYUSH Minister for considering the upgradation of Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine (CRIUM) to National Institute of Unani Medicine for Skin Diseases, upgradation of Regional Research Centre, Silchar to Regional Research Institute of Unani Medicine and upgrading of pharmacy of CRIUM, Hyderabad. He also thanked the Minister for facilitating the establishment of an Extension Centre for Research in Pattayam, Kerala. He informed that land for establishment of National Institute for Research in Unani Medicine for NCDs has been allotted by the State Government in Haryana. He further informed that the CCRUM has signed MoUs with South Africa, Iran, Tajikistan and Bangladesh.

To mark the occasion, Prof. Dr. Seyed Ehtesham Hasnain, Vice-Chancellor, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi and Prof. Asim Ali Khan, DG, CCRUM exchanged MoU for scientific collaboration between their institutions.

On the occasion, AYUSH Awards for Unani Medicine were conferred on various Unani scientists and experts in recognition of their contributions for research, teaching and practice of Unani Medicine. The Best Research Paper Awards were presented to Dr. Arshiya Sultana, Associate Professor, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Bangalore for Clinical Research and Dr. Noman Anwar, Research Officer (Unani), Regional Research Institute of Unani Medicine, Chennai for Drug Research in Unani Medicine. The awards comprised a citation, a shawl and a cash award of Rs 50,000 each. The Young Scientist Awards were conferred on Dr. Jamal Akhtar, Research Officer (Unani) Scientist – III, CCRUM for Clinical Research and Dr. Nasreen Jahan, Associate Professor, National Institute of Unani Medicine, Bangalore for Drug Research in Unani Medicine. The awards comprised a citation, a shawl and a cash award of Rs 100,000 each. The Best Teacher Awards were presented to Prof. Tanzeel Ahmad, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh for Clinical Research, Prof. Mohd Aslam, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi for Drug Research and Prof. Khalid Zaman Khan, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh for Literary Research in Unani Medicine. The awards comprised a citation, a shawl and a cash award of Rs 200,000 each. The Lifetime Achievement Awards were conferred on Prof. Naeem Ahmad Khan, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh and Prof. M A Jafri, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi for Best Academician and Best Researcher in Unani Medicine respectively. The awards comprised a citation, a shawl and a cash award of Rs 200,000 each.

The dignitaries released the Conference Souvenir and four other publications brought out by the CCRUM. Unani Pharmacopoeia of India (UPI) Part-II, Vol-IV is the official document for standards of 50 Unani formulations. The work was carried out by the CCRUM under supervision of Unani Pharmacopoeia Committee and Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H), where as ‘Clinical Validation of Unani Formulations in Waja‘ al-Mafāṣil (Rheumatoid Arthritis)’ is the outcome of validation studies on five Unani formulations safe and effective in Waja‘al-Mafāsil. The fourth publication is Urdu translation of ‘Manāfiʻ al Aghdhiya11h wa-Daf’u Maḍārrihā’, an original Arabic work on diet and dietetics Muhammad ibn Zakariyya Rāzī (d. 926 AD). The fifth released book is Urdu translation of Persian book, ‘Intekhab-i Jalil’ which comprises 800 prescriptions effective in diseases of different body systems authored by Jalil Ahmed Ansari, a legendary Hakim of twentieth century.

The conference would conclude on 12th February and would highlight the important role played by Unani Medicine in public health especially in combating NCDs, lifestyle disorders and various chronic diseases by providing cost effective treatment and quality products for patient healthcare. The conference will have dedicated sessions on Integration of Unani Medicine in Healthcare Delivery System, Management of Chronic Diseases, Public Health Programs, Unani Medicine for Geriatric Care and Mother and Child Healthcare, Quality Control in Traditional Medicine, Emerging Research Trends in Unani Medicine, and Way Forward for Globalization of Unani Medicine. The conference will also have a panel discussion on Challenges in Market Development for Unani Medicine – An Interface between Academia, Industry and Researchers.

With the presence of experts, luminaries, scholars of Unani Medicine, the conference aims to provide a platform for healthy discussion and brain storming of ideas and creation of better avenues in further utilizing the strength of Unani Medicine in public health issues. About 1300 delegates, resource persons, academicians, researchers and industry representatives are participating in the conference.

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