The Ayurveda Medical Association of India has protested against the government's decision to give ‘B' class registration to practising ‘self-educated' naturopaths.

In a statement here, the Association said that instead of protecting the health sector, the government was trying to encourage quackery and thus endanger people's health.

There are no recognised courses in Naturopathy in Kerala as in other systems of medicine. Those who are practising it are doing it under those who have secured required qualifications.

In recognition of the fact that there are a significant number of self-educated naturopathy practitioners, the department of Ayush, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, had in a directive issued in 2006, said that naturopathy practitioners who are not institutionally qualified but with a minimum of 15 years full-time clinical experience and who have passed Class XII or Plus Two exams may be given ‘B' class registration from the State Medical Council concerned, for the Indian Systems of Medicine.

However, the order passed by the State government has diluted the qualification for ‘B' class registration as SSLC pass or its equivalent and 10 years' experience, the Association pointed out. It alleged that even though the GO claims to have discussed the matter with an experts' committee, no such committee had been convened.

The Association also said that most of those who were practising naturopathy without sufficient qualifications in the State were also engaged in offering Ayurveda treatment illegally. By legitimising the practice of these self-educated naturopaths the government was paving the way for many quacks practising Ayurveda to gain legitimacy, it said.

The Association appealed to the government to re-consider the matter.