Even as the State government is keen on legally allowing practitioners of Indian systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) to practice allopathy, the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) has set aside a proposal in this regard saying it is “technically difficult.”
While the State Health Department has written to RGUHS recommending the introduction of an 18-month training course in integrated medicine, RGUHS authorities said the proposal could not be accepted unless it is approved by the apex organisations governing the various systems of medicine.
RGUHS Vice-Chancellor K.S. Sriprakash told The Hindu on Thursday that there are many risks involved in allowing integrated practice. “It would in fact lead to more cases of medical negligence as 18-month training would not be the same as a five-year MBBS course. Nothing can be done unless the Medical Council of India and Boards governing the other systems of medicine grant approvals,” he said.
However, State Health and Family Welfare Minister U.T. Khader said his department was in favour of introducing integrated practice in the State.
“Allowing AYUSH practitioners to legally take up integrated practice will not only help in curbing quackery but also ensure that people in rural areas get timely treatment. Following the shortage of doctors and specialists, most people in rural areas do not have access to quality healthcare. They end up visiting quacks which is even more dangerous,” Mr. Khader said.
“Also several primary health centres in remote areas are still run by AYUSH practitioners. The approach of these ‘doctors’ towards their patients is much better compared to MBBS doctors as they are local practitioners who are residents of the area for long. They know the pulse of the people seeking their services,” he explained.
AYUSH doctors in PHC
Citing a recent case in Naravi near Belthangady, the Minister said: “The primary health centre there was being run by an AYUSH doctor for many years. Now when we posted a MBBS doctor, people refused to see the doctor and demanded that the AYUSH doctor be allowed to continue,” he said.
He said he had already discussed the issue with prominent doctors in a forum at Dharwad recently. “Except for a few all were open to the proposal,” he said.
For the record, several groups of doctors practising traditional systems of medicine have been lobbying with the government for long to allow them to prescribe allopathic drugs during emergencies. Separate proposals have been submitted to the government by the State units of the Ayush Federation of India and National Integrated Medical Association (NIMA) and Ayurveda Horata Samiti in the recent past.
According to these organisations, such a system exists in 13 States, including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.