Islamabad, 30 April 2023 (TDI): On the 27th of this month, Chinese scientists and industrialists recently visited COMSTECH to promote research and development cooperation in natural products, biotechnology, public health, and traditional medicine. The goal is to establish links between China and the OIC member states for academic and research initiatives.

The Chinese delegation consisted of leaders from industries specializing in traditional medicine, while representatives from multiple OIC member states attended the discussions virtually.

Several member states, including Pakistan, Iran, and Indonesia, are already exploring traditional medicine on their own.

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COMSTECH, the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation, aims to facilitate collaboration between OIC member states and Chinese institutions in the healthcare sector.

The committee organized a dialogue that featured talks from scientists and representatives of pharmaceutical industries from China, with attendees including researchers, industry personnel, and embassy representatives from OIC member states in Islamabad.

During the dialogue, the attendees discussed several aspects of collaboration, including the establishment of joint labs, exchange programs for scholars from OIC member states, and product-based research.

The potential for cooperation in the development of natural products, biotechnology, public health, and traditional medicine in OIC member states was also explored.

The Coordinator-General of COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, provided a comprehensive briefing to the delegation on COMSTECH’s programs and initiatives, as well as the scope and avenues of collaboration.

He highlighted opportunities for Sino-COMSTECH collaboration, including institutional cooperation, capacity building, and the establishment of traditional Chinese medicine clinics and research labs.

This collaboration has the potential to bring about new opportunities for innovation and growth in the healthcare sector for both China and OIC member states.

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According to Prof. Dr. Aiguo Dai, President of Hunan University of Chinese Medicine, the meeting between the school and “Belt and Road Initiative” countries will enhance the international cooperation of traditional medicine.

He noted that China has maintained a friendly relationship with Islamic countries for a long time, and considers the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as a crucial bridge for collaboration.

Yin Shengxin, the Science Commissioner of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Islamabad, praised the Sino-COMSTECH initiative and the efforts of Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary in fostering cooperation.

He highlighted the longstanding friendship between China and Pakistan and the healing properties of traditional Chinese medicine.

Dr. Asima Rabbani, Director General (EC & OIC) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acknowledged China’s extensive history of traditional medicine, which dates back over two millennia.

She commended the Sino-COMSTECH initiative’s goal of strengthening cooperation in traditional medicine and allied biomedical sciences with OIC countries, describing it as a significant step towards promoting collaboration between China and OIC states. Rabbani also lauded COMSTECH’s role in advancing institutional linkages in the field of science and technology.

Syed Farooq Bukhari, Chairman of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association, saw the Sino-COMSTECH collaboration initiative as an excellent opportunity for Pakistan to learn from China and other OIC states’ experiences and develop policies tailored to its own needs and priorities.

The event also featured representatives from various Chinese pharmaceutical companies who had the chance to network and exchange ideas with field experts and scientists.