BioVoice News December 2016-January 2017 Issue 8 Volume 1 - Page 30

expert corner

INTEGRATION OF AYUSH DOCTORS INTO MODERN MEDICINE HAS BOTH BENEFITS AND FALLOUTS

The allopathic medicine practitioners in the remote areas should be only conditional and not to be treated as the permanent replacement for trained medical professionals , writes Dr Dharminder Nagar , Managing Director , Paras Healthcare
Earlier this year , the World Health Organization published a report titled the Health Workforce in India , which brought forth eye-opening statistics about healthcare in the country . It found that in 2001 nearly one-third of the practitioners calling themselves ‘ allopathic doctors ’ were educated up to only secondary school level , while a whopping 57.3 % did not have a medical qualification . Expectedly , this scenario was more distressing in rural areas where only 18.8 % of the ‘ allopathic doctors ’ had any medical qualification .
The report also suggests a huge skew in availability of doctors in favor of urban areas with the urban density of medical practitioners 4 times higher than rural . The document states that together , allopathic , ayurvedic , homeopathic and unani medical practitioners accounted for a strength of 79.7 doctors per lakh population in India .
While the WHO mandates a doctorpatient ratio of 1:1000 , in India it is as low as 1:1674 . More recent data by the Medical Council of India tells us that the total number of doctors in India as on 30.09.2014 was 9.32 lakhs . Apart from them , 6.8 lakh AYUSH practitioners also practice across the country .
When seen in this light , the government ’ s proposal to initiate a process of integration of AYUSH doctors into the fold of modern medicine makes some sense . The Government is contemplating a radical move to provide a short
‘ bridge course ’ to AYUSH practitioners to equip them to dispense basic medical care at the primary healthcare level . According to media reports , the health ministry has already worked out details of an MoU with IGNOU for providing such a course for Ayurveda , Yoga , Unani , Siddha and Homoeopathy practitioners that will pave the way for them to prescribe basic allopathic medicines as well ( albeit after approval by the Medical Council of India ).
Debate is rife on whether this move will have more negative outcomes than benefits . The proponents of the initiative consider it a positive move that will help India inch towards meeting the goal of universal healthcare by improving access and delivery in remote areas . On the other hand , the Indian Medical Association is strongly opposed to the proposal , which they consider tantamount to legalizing ‘ quackery ’.
The reality , however , lies somewhere in between the two extreme views !
Improving access in remote areas
For those of us who have spent most of our lives in relatively affluent urban zones , it is hard to fathom the extent of deprivation faced by India ’ s rural masses , especially in the healthcare domain . A pragmatic analysis of the condition of healthcare in rural and remote areas will tell us that shortage of doctors is a major problem bedeviling the rural hospitals and primary healthcare centres . According to Rural Health
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BioVoiceNews | December 2016 - January 2017