"We are not asking for something new, it has been a practice in 12 other States for AYUSH doctors to prescribe allopathy medicines too" said N.A. Magadum, AFI State president

Medical services in the State are likely to be hit in the coming fortnight with members of the Karnataka Government Medical Officers’ Association (KGMOA) and the Karnataka chapter of the Ayush Federation of India (AFI) planning to strike work from Monday.

While the KGMOA is seeking handing over of 10 district hospitals from the Medical Education Department to the Department of Health and Family Welfare, AYUSH practitioners want the government to allow them to prescribe allopathic medicines during emergencies.

The KGMOA has decided to stage a protest demonstration here on Monday. Hundreds of AYUSH practitioners, who will hold district-wise protests on July 20 and July 21, will assemble in Bangalore for an indefinite strike from July 22, AFI State president N.A. Magadum said.

Long-pending demands

KGMOA president H.N. Ravindra told The Hindu that the association’s demand for taking back district hospitals from the department and merger of incentives with basic pay were pending for long.

“Although these hospitals were under the Health Department earlier, their transfer to the Medical Education Department deprived doctors under the Health Department of promotion opportunities,” he said.

Asserting that they would give a 10-day deadline to the government from July 16, Mr. Ravindra said the doctors would resign en masse if their demands were not met.

Mr. Magadum said more than 80 per cent of the 40,000 AYUSH practitioners worked in rural areas. “More than 700 of these have been deployed by the government in State-run medical facilities. The government seeks our help whenever government doctors strike work. But we are prohibited from prescribing allopathy medicines during emergencies,” he said.

Rural scene

“People in rural areas do not see which medicine we practice. They want a quick cure, especially during an emergency. If we fail on such occasions, people will doubt our capabilities. We are not asking for something new. It has been a practice in 12 other States for AYUSH doctors to prescribe allopathy medicines too,” he said.

Minister S.A. Ramdas refused to comment on the issue and said it came under the purview of the Health Department. Sources in the Health Department said the issue would be taken up for discussions after the department gets a new Minister.