Efforts must be made to build public faith in homoeopathy and Indian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda and Siddha. Only then will the benefits of these systems reach every section, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare S. Gandhi Selvan said here on Thursday.

Facts about the efficacy of these systems of medicine should be taken to the people in order to build their faith in these, he said after inaugurating a State-level campaign on ‘Homoeopathy for Mother and Child Care' and a five-day workshop on ‘Healthy Mother and Happy Child'. These were organised by the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy) wing of the ministry and the Tamil Nadu Government's Department of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy.

The erosion of public faith was owing to false claims of cure to diseases such as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) that were made in the forms of advertisements in the media. This should be prevented. At the same time, the facts should be taken to the people, he said.

At present, the sale of drugs and cosmetics belonging to the Indian systems of medicine was at Rs. 20,000 crore a year. This was expected to double by 2020. Yet, there was a need to increase awareness on the treatment for various diseases under these systems.

The present infant mortality rate (IMR) was one crore children and maternal mortality rate (MMR) was 50 lakh women a year. At least seven crore mothers and crores of children suffer from lack of good treatment facilities. People in many northern States did not have access to quality health care and this could be attributed to their economic condition. Options such as homoeopathy offered a low-cost solution to this problem.

The Central Government was also providing enough impetus to promotion of and research in homoeopathy and Indian systems of medicine.

“The Government has allocated Rs. 1,600 crore for the promotion of these systems and also research into these. Of this, Rs. 150 crore has been set aside for research,” he said.

Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy in the State Ramesh Kumar Khanna said the campaign and the workshop were being organised at a time when there was immense emphasis on reducing IMR and MMR.

These were part of the IEC (information, communication and education) activities being carried out in some districts in the State.

The workshop was a training the trainers exercise. Those trained at the State-level should, in turn, impart skills to others at the district level.

The overall objective of the programme was to spread awareness among the people and improve the skills among those practicing these systems of medicine. The special focus was on mother and child health.

As part of a larger emphasis, an in-patient homoeopathy ward would be opened at Anna Hospital in Chennai. Three medical college hospitals elsewhere in the State would have similar in-patient wards.

Registrar of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University P. Subbaian said there had been a five-fold increase in the number homeopathy clinics in the country over the last 50 years and this spoke of its popularity among the people. Nodal Officer for Mother and Child Care K. King Narcissus explained the aim of promoting homoeopathy and Indian systems of medicine.

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