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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

International Ayurveda Institute mooted for capital

By Our Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JUNE 6 . In a major effort to transform the capital city into a global destination for Ayurveda, the Environment and Development Initiatives for Thiruvananthapuram (EDIT), a city-based NGO, has unveiled a blueprint for the establishment of an International Institute of Ayurvedic Medical Sciences here.

Prepared by a team of experts, the concept paper for the project contains an action plan to set up a network of institutions for Ayurveda treatment, drug development, education and research.

The blueprint seeks to tap the increased recognition of traditional health systems and the spiralling global demand for herbal drugs, to create the network. It proposes a centre of excellence of international standards for specialised treatment.

Networked with other indigenous systems of medicine, the institute will be equipped to handle intellectual property rights (IPR) issues relating to treatment practices, drugs and other herbal products in the light of the patents regime.

The expert team headed by the Ayurvedic Medical Education director, Dr. K. Sankaran, feels that the presence of research institutions like the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute and the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Biotechnology, and the proximity to the rich biodiversity of the Western Ghats would make Thiruvananthapuram an ideal location for the project. It says a 50 - acre plot could be identified at Kudappanakunnu, Thiruvallam, Neyyar dam, Aakulam or Vilappilsala to set up the centre.

The report has suggested a public-private funding pattern with contributions from the Central and State Governments and private sponsors. A managing committee will be set up with representatives from the Forest, Agriculture and Health departments.

An integral part of the project is an information sharing system with faculty exchange programmes for technical know how, research support and technological upgradation. A digital library containing biological data and research data of clinical studies will be set up. The team has suggested separate cells for the treatment of sportsmen and military personnel.

One of the highlights of the project is a proposal to manufacture and export high quality Ayurveda drugs, food supplements and cosmetics. The institute will strive to regulate and systematise traditional knowledge on Ayurveda.

The blueprint proposes the establishment of a 500-bed hospital equipped for panchakarma, surgery, Ophthalmology, ENT, dentistry, maternal and child care, social and preventive medicine, pharmacy and drug research.

The institute will also have Ayurveda schools for post-graduate courses and doctoral research in various subjects. The total project is estimated to cost Rs.150 crores. The expert team, which prepared the proposal, has worked out a foreign exchange earnings of Rs. 10 to Rs. 15 crores per year from treatment of patients. Sale of Ayurveda drugs is expected to yield Rs. 5 crores while the income from colleges will net Rs. 10 crores every year. Development of herbal drugs for the global market is a highlight of the project.

The blueprint has suggested charitable programmes to provide free treatment for the poor. The project will be finalised at a meeting to be held here on June 10.

Experts feel that the concept paper needs to be reworked, with separate project reports for technical and funding systems.

Interestingly, EDIT had submitted a proposal to the Centre to set up an All India Institute of Ayurvedic Medical Sciences in Thiruvananthapuram last year. However, following discussions with the former Union Health Minister, Sushma Swaraj, it was decided to establish the institute at New Delhi.

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