NEW DELHI, 21 JUNE: Integration of ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and homoeopathic, the three Indian systems of medicine, with allopathic system to ensure health for all citizens across the country is the new mantra of the Union health ministry.
The main objective behind such integration is primarily to bring the focus on prevention rather than cure, the main default in the healthcare system, according to sources in the department of AYUSH, under the ministry of health and family welfare.
The entire modicum of healthcare treatment in allopathic system of medicine, the basis of our National Health policy, is based on cure, which means we first wait for the disease to make its appearance and then we begin to treat the ailment with drugs, surgery, said an official in department of AYUSH. But allopathy has no means, barring a few vaccinations, to prevent the disease from affecting people, which incidentally is available in Ayurveda, he added. However, it is ironic that in India, despite the availability of wide variety of resources and knowhow in traditional Indian system of medicines (ISM), people are deprived of healthy well being because allopathic doctors are unable to utilise the support ISM system provides in terms of measures for prevention.
The department of Ayush, however, has proposed certain modifications in rules for practicing doctors so that an allopathic doctor can prescribe medicines, pertaining to Ayurveda or other traditional systems of medicine and vice versa, said sources in the ministry of health.
Most states across the country have agreed in principle. The health department of Tamil Nadu government, on the other hand, has already issued a directive whereby institutionally qualified and registered practitioners of Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani could practice their respective systems with modern scientific medicine including surgery, gynaecology & obstetrics, anaesthesiology, ENT, ophthalmology, etc., based on their training and teaching in the course. They are, however, barred from exclusively doing practice in allopathic medicine, as per a letter issued by the principal secretary, health, in the state.
This means that the traditional doctors can prescribe allopathic medicines only in emergency cases. According to sources, if any of these ISM doctors are exclusively practicing allopathic medicine, action will be initiated against them under the Tamil Nadu Siddha System of Medicine (Development and Registration of Practitioners) Act 1997, and Tamil Nadu Board of Indian Medicine Rules.
The decision of the government comes as a relief to the ISM doctors in the state when the Tamil Nadu branch of Indian Medical Association has raised their objection against the ISM physicians for practicing modern system, sources added.
Several ISM practitioners said several state governments in India, including those of Punjab, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, are allowing the ISM doctors of their states to practice modern systems in cases of emergency.
According to sources, the TN health department has taken this decision based on some sections of Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.
The letter of the principal secretary requests the Director General of Police not to intervene with the practice of registered practitioners of Siddha, Ayurveda, Unani and Naturopathy who are registered with the Tamil Nadu Siddha Medical Council and Tamil Nadu Board of Indian Medicine.
It confirms that the rights of the practitioners of ISM are protected under section 17 (3) B of the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, and accordingly the institutionally qualified practitioners of the system are eligible to practice.
The decision of the health department is in principle allowing the ISM doctors to practice allopathic system on emergency cases.