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09/01/24 | 11:13 pm

WHO launches groundbreaking ICD-11 classification, integrating traditional medicine

World Health Organization (WHO) is set to unveil its International Classification of Diseases 11th Edition (ICD-11) with a groundbreaking inclusion: data and terminology relating to diseases based on Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani systems.

The launch event, scheduled for January 10th, 2024, in New Delhi, signifies a global milestone in healthcare as traditional medicine gains recognition on an international scale. The initiative aims to establish a universal code of vocabulary defining diseases in Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani (ASU) medicine, fostering global uniformity.

Notably, the effort marks a significant departure from the current ICD series, which primarily relies on healthcare practices associated with modern biomedicine. Diseases rooted in Ayush systems, such as Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani, have thus far been absent from the WHO's global disease classification.

The impetus for this transformative step emerged from collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Ayush and the WHO. The Director of Integrated Health Services at WHO Geneva, along with Pradeep Dua, Technical Officer Tradition, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine, actively participated in discussions at the Ministry of Ayush on January 9th.

The Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI), serving as the WHO Collaboration Centre for ICD-related activities, played a pivotal role in facilitating the integration of traditional medicine into the ICD-11. The Ministry of Ayush has already developed a dedicated Code for Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani Medicine through the National Ayush Morbidity and Standardized Electronic Portal (NAMSTE).

Infectious diseases such as Malaria and lifestyle ailments like chronic insomnia will find a place in this comprehensive classification. Noteworthy examples include the inclusion of 'Bhramaha' in Ayurveda, 'Ajal Kirkrippu' in Siddha, and 'Sadra-o-Dwar' in Unani under the common term “Vertigo Guidance Disorder.”

The release of ICD-11 on January 10th, 2024, in New Delhi, will mark a historic moment as WHO and Ministry of Ayush officials jointly present this transformative leap toward inclusivity in global health classification.

By Manish Poswal

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Last Updated: 18th Apr 2024