Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a telephone conversation on Wednesday with Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and discussed ongoing global collaboration for countering the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Tedros said that India had an important role to play in global health issues and strongly appreciated PM Modi’s unequivocal commitment to deploy India’s capacities as a leading manufacturer of vaccines and pharmaceuticals for the benefit of humanity. He appreciated India’s domestic initiatives like Ayushman Bharat scheme and campaign against tuberculosis.

A PMO release said the Prime Minister and the Director-General had “productive discussion” on the value of traditional medicinal systems, especially for enhancing wellness and immunity of the global population. They agreed on the need for integrating traditional medicine solutions into modern medical practice through holistic protocols, and for careful scientific validation of time-tested traditional medicine products and practices.

The Director-General stressed that the potential of traditional medicine had not been adequately appreciated until now, and said that the WHO was actively working to encourage research, training and sharing of best practices in this area. The Prime Minister appreciated these efforts and informed Dr Tedros about the planned celebration of Ayurveda Day in India on November 13 under the theme of ‘Ayurveda for COVID-19’.

The release said Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for WHO’s important role in facilitating a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also noted the need to not lose sight of the battle against other diseases and appreciated the importance of WHO’s support to the health systems of developing countries.

“The Director-General stressed the close and regular collaboration between the WHO and the Indian health authorities, and specially appreciated India’s domestic initiatives like the Ayushman Bharat scheme and India’s campaign against Tuberculosis,” the release said.

“The Prime Minister and the Director-General also discussed the ongoing global collaboration for countering the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the Director-General strongly appreciated Prime Minister Modi’s unequivocal commitment to deploy India’s capacities as a leading manufacturer of vaccines and pharmaceuticals for the benefit of humanity,” it added.