Indonesian envoy urges enhanced OIC cooperation for developing Traditional Herbal Medicines

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Indonesia Mr. Adam M. Tugio Monday emphasized the need to accelerate collaborative efforts among the OIC countries for the development of Traditional Herbal Medicine (THM) in the wake of growing popularity of natural remedy methods and global awareness to protect environment for ensuring ‘Greener Future’.

Addressing the participants of International Seminar on Herbal and Traditional Medicine organized by the Embassy of Indonesia Islamabad and COMSTECH Islamabad, the Ambassador said that THM offer tremendous economic opportunities and innovation for the OIC countries since more than 80% people in developing countries and around 10 to 50% people living in the developed countries have trust in the effectiveness of traditional herbal medicines.

Highlighting the economic prospects of trending global THM market, the Indonesian envoy apprised the audience that the herbal medicinal products market revenue reached US$ 171.62 bn in 2021 and estimated to be worth $190.4 Billion by 2027 while the East Asia market alone is set to grow at 9.5% owing to high herbal yield.

He said that in OIC geography, the rising popularity of THM is in tandem with growth of Halal products market and its estimated market size was measured at USD 3.7 trillion in 2020 and projected to reach USD 4.7 trillion in 2024. In view of the high herbal products demand, the leading pharmaceutical companies are also investing in this sector as one out of four prescriptions in the US contained at least one active ingredient derived from plants, the envoy said.

Referring to the old Islamic history, Ambassador Adam said the practice of using traditional Greco-Arab and Islamic medicine was quiet common among the Muslim countries during the Golden Age of Arab-Islamic civilization from the seventh to fifteenth century. He said that Indonesian traditional herbal medicine known as Jamu and Pakistani Unani traditional medicines are considered reliable source of healing on both sides.

“Presently, we all are witnessing changing lifestyle patterns globally and a significant shift among the consumer behaviors of millenials with the trending popular concepts of ‘Back to Nature’, ‘Go Organic’, and ‘Go Green‘, Grow your own”, he remarked.

Pointing out the challenges for the protection of herbal medicines in the context of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), Ambassador Adam urged to adopt a forward-looking approach by the OIC countries for the protection of this ancient knowledge with improved quality standards. He also proposed to establish national database of traditional knowledge and folklore and to include the living tradition of THM into school curriculum in the wake of prevailing challenges.

Earlier, the Coordinator General COMSTECH Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Chaudhry in his welcoming remarks said that Pakistan and Indonesia are rich sources of herbal medicines and has potential to meet the global demand. Considering the increasing Interest in Herbal medicine and traditional knowledge, he said that there is urgent need for research based scientific development, and standards based quality control of herbal drugs as well as relevant regulatory enforcement.

He also appreciated and welcomed the participation of 12-member delegation from University of Sumatra (USU) Indonesia. In the Conference and hoped that such bilateral activities would continue to flourish further.

The Technical Session of the Conference was joined online by eight speakers from different countries including Prof. Dr. Muhammad Iqbal Choudhry Coordinator General COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. Miranda Risang Ayu Palar, Prof. Dr. Nurul Bariza, Prof. Dr Apt Elfahmi from Indonesia, Prof. Dr. Farzad Kobarfard Shahid from Iran, Prof. Dr. May Azzawi from Manchester Metropolitan University and Prof. Dr. Atia- tul- Wahab and Prof. Dr. Yan Wang from Pakistan.

The seminar was attended by students, researchers, and experts from the pharmaceutical industry from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Gabon, Sudan, Nigeria, Morocco, Iran, Uganda, Pakistan, and Malaysia who joined online.

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