Side Meetings


Integration of Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine in the Institutionalization of Evidence-Informed Decision-making (hybrid event)


  • 09:00 - 12:30 HRS. (BKK)

  • Venue : Lotus Suite 6

  • Contact Person : Daniel Gallego,

  • Tanja Kuchenm├╝ller, Unit Head, Evidence to Policy and Impact Unit, Research for Health Department, Science Division, WHO
  • Geetha Gopalakrishna, Evidence Unit Head, WHO Global Traditional Medicine Center -GTMC
  • Mukdarut Bangpan, Associate Professor in Evidence-Informed Policy and Development, University College London
  • **Zoom registration link (for virtual participation):

Zoom registration for virtual participation: (copy and paste this link to your browser)

The use of evidence in policy and decision-making has exponentially grown, and it is now considered standard practice within health systems.(1,2) However, the gap between research and practice persists. Seeking to translate health research findings into policy and practice, the WHO has advanced initiatives that promote the institutionalization of Evidence-informed decision/policy-making (EIDM).(3,4) The WHO Secretariat of the Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) has developed an EIDM institutionalization checklist that provides a structuring framework.(5) The checklist, currently pilot-tested to assess its validity and feasibility,(6) highlights six domains (governance; standards and routinized processes; leadership and commitment; resources and capacity-building/strengthening; partnership, collective action, and support; and culture), and five processes of EIDM institutionalization.(5)

Both Evidence-informed decision/policy-making (EIDM) and the structuring of health systems based on Primary Health Care (PHC) have been recognized as essential for advancing toward universal health coverage (UHC) and health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).(5,7,8) PHC is a whole-of-society approach that was initially characterized as context-specific, based on research and experience, health needs-focused,  intersectoral, and delivered by health teams that include traditional medicine practitioners.9 The Alma Ata conference recommended studying the contribution of “traditional systems of medicine”.(10) The Astana Declaration, in turn, recognized the importance of traditional knowledge, in conjunction with scientific knowledge, to “strengthen PHC, improve health outcomes and ensure access for all people to the right care.”(8)

Despite this recognition and the documented use of traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM) by 88% of WHO Member States,(11) countries have identified significant gaps in realizing TCIM’s potential contributions to improving health outcomes and wellbeing.(11) They have requested that the WHO prioritize evidence and data to inform policies, standards, and regulatory frameworks for the safe, cost-effective, and equitable use of TCIM.(11,12)

The Gujarat Declaration of the first WHO Global Summit on Traditional Medicine (17-18 August 2023, Gandhinagar, India) articulated an action agenda including a focus on research and evidence. It proposed “making appropriate use of existing and new research, evidence syntheses and knowledge translation principles and WHO initiatives.”(13) It also recommended capacity strengthening “to produce, translate and use TCIM research and Indigenous knowledges” and supporting “the evidence-based integration of TCIM in national health policies and systems based on highest quality research.”(13)

The recently established WHO Global Traditional Medicine Centre (GTMC) is tasked with augmenting WHO’s capacities for mobilizing knowledge for policies and standards for TCIM practices and products. The GTMC will implement the Gujarat Declaration proposals, complementing the core WHO functions of governance, norms, and country support carried out by its technical unit on Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine (TCI) and the six Regional Offices. Furthermore, the WHO is developing a new TCIM global strategy (2025-2034)(14) that will incorporate EIDM processes.

The WHO Evidence to Policy and Impact Unit, in collaboration with the Evidence Unit of the GTMC, is proposing a collaborative side event at the 2024 Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) exploring the current state of Evidence-informed policy-making (EIDM) institutionalization globally and the implications of its intersections with TCIM in fostering inclusivity, health equity, epistemic justice, and decolonial global health governance. The side event will explore potential mechanisms (infrastructure, conditions, frameworks) for enhancing the use of evidence in global policy development toward realizing TCIM’s contribution to health and wellbeing. This side event is aligned with the 2024 PMAC sub-theme one, of global governance for health, and three, decolonization of global health governance.



1.         Baron, J. A Brief History of Evidence-Based Policy. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 678, 40–50 (2018).

2.         Kuchenmüller, T. et al. Domains and processes for institutionalizing evidence-informed health policy-making: a critical interpretive synthesis. Health Research Policy and Systems vol. 20 Preprint at (2022).

3.         Fifty-eighth World Health Assembly. WHA58.34; Ministerial Summit        on Health Research. (2005).

4.         Hamid, M. et al. EVIPNet: translating the spirit of Mexico. Lancet 366, 1758–60 (2005).

5.         World Health Organization. Supporting the routine use of evidence during the policy-making process: A WHO checklist. (World Health Organization, 2023).

6.         World Health Organization. EVIPNet and University College London launch new project to pilot the WHO checklist on EIPM institutionalization.

7.         United Nations. Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage “Universal health coverage: moving together to build a healthier world”. Preprint at (2019).

8.         Global Conference on Primary Health Care. Declaration of Astana. Preprint at (2018).

9.         International Conference on Primary Health Care. Declaration of Alma-Ata. WHO Cronicle 32, 428–30 (1978).

10.       World Health Organization. Primary Health Care; Report of the International Conference on Primary Health Care; Alma-Ata, USSR, 6-12 September 1978. (1978).

11.       World Health Organization. WHO global report on traditional and complementary medicine 2019. (World Health Organization, 2019).

12.       World Health Organization. WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023. (WHO, 2013).

13.       World Health Organization. WHO Traditional Medicine Global Summit 2023 meeting report: Gujarat Declaration. (2023).

14.       Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly. Extension of the WHO traditional medicine strategy: 2014–2023 to 2025. (2023).


1. Explore how the application of EIDM in the TCIM context could foster inclusivity, health equity, epistemic justice, and decolonial global health governance.

2. Assess the advances and challenges of integrating TCIM in EIDM institutionalization globally and the needed conditions to strengthen it.

3. Outline potential next steps for implementing the evidence-related proposals of the Gujarat Declaration, particularly regarding the “evidence-based integration of TCIM in national health policies and systems based on highest quality research” and advancing complementarities with existing WHO-led EIDM initiatives.