Though the common perception is that traditional medicinal systems like ayurveda and unani have wide acceptability in India, the first-of-its-kind survey on their actual usage will commence soon in the country.

The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) has for the first time included some questions about AYUSH (auyrveda, yoga and naturapathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy) in their consumer expenditure schedule for the 68th annual round of socio-economic surveys.

“Database or statistics is an essential base for good and effective planning. However, Department of AYUSH as yet had no benchmark statistics available either from census or adequate sample size-based enquiries. Therefore, NSSO was persuaded vigorously to undertake the survey for AYUSH,” officials in the Department of AYUSH in the Union Health Ministry said.

They said the survey will focus on reasons for using AYUSH systems and sources of procuring such medicines.

Among the questions which will be asked are whether any member of the household used AYUSH system in the last 30 days, the reasons for using or not using and from where do they usually get medicines under Indian systems or homeopathy.

The respondents will also be asked about how often they visit AYUSH dispensaries, hospitals, or health centres for treatment and what is their assessment about the AYUSH medicines they had procured from there.

The NSSO will collect information from about one lakh households nationwide both in rural and urban areas. The survey will commence from July and will be conducted in four sub-rounds up to June 2012.

The survey results are expected to become available in 2013. The data will give indication about acceptability of AYUSH systems in the country and help in preparing a future road map for AYUSH, officials said.

Earlier, a survey carried out by National Health Systems Resource Centre had found out that people are using Indian systems more than allopathic medicines for chronic diseases like joint pain and diabetes.