Allopaths protest ‘myxopathy’January 14, 2019
Even as the union cabinet struck down the bridge course proposed in the National Medical Commission Bill for AYUSH doctors, it left it to the state governments to take necessary measures for addressing and promoting primary health care in rural areas. AYUSH stands for Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy — the traditional forms of medicine practised in India. The bridge course was proposed to enable AYUSH doctors to practice and prescribe allopathic medicine. The union cabinet removed the provision from the bill after a Parliamentary Standing Committee recommended against making it a mandatory part of the same.
The parliamentary standing committee was set up following objections raised by Indian Medical Association, the largest body of allopathy practitioners in India. IMA had staged nationwide protests and alleged that the move would promote quackery. “IMA is against myxopathy and there is no scope for any mixing. By allowing ayurveda doctors to practice modern medicine, you are giving a message that they cannot treat common illness with ayurveda,” said Dr. K.K. Agarwal, former national president of IMA.
Even though the union government removed the provision of bridge course from the bill, the Maharashtra government stated that it would continue with a bridge course started for homeopathy doctors to enable them to practice allopathy. Maharashtra government started a one-year certificate course of Modern Pharmacology in 2016 to train homeopathy doctors in certain areas of allopathy excluding major surgeries, citing an acute shortage of doctors in rural areas. Gujarat government also recently invited applications for a six-month-long bridge course for ayurveda doctors to enable them to practice allopathy. Though IMA’s Gujarat unit approached the Gujarat High Court, it referred the matter back to the state health department.
But the All India Homoeopathy Doctors Federation is very vocal in their demand for bridge courses and has staged protests against the decision to remove the bridge course. The Homoeopathic Medical Association of India, which had earlier protested against the provision of bridge course in the bill, subsequently changed its stand. “Now, the central government has removed the provision of a bridge course from the bill and given state governments the power to decide on the same. The requirement of one state is different from another. If the homeopathy practitioners are interested to work with state governments after undergoing the bridge course, we are not against it,” said D. Bhaskar Bhatt, President, The Homoeopathic Medical Association of India. He added that it will not have any impact on homoeopathy practice in the country.
In another development, a parliamentary standing committee has recommended changes in the curricula of modern systems of medicine as well as AYUSH systems in an effort to integrate medical education. The committee observed that an integrated approach would help in understanding the strengths of each system of medicine.
Meanwhile, in a major relief to the practitioners of Integrated Systems of Medicine (ISM), the Supreme Court recently ordered that no coercive action shall be taken against persons who are practising Integrated Systems of Medicine pursuant to degrees or diplomas obtained from universities that are recognized for teaching the same, till a decision is reached by the court. The apex court’s interim order came in a petition filed by All India Indian Medicines Graduate Association challenging the order of the Delhi High Court that the ISM practitioners cannot prescribe allopathic medicines. In their plaint, the petitioners stated that ISM practitioners undergo training in both modern medicine and ISM as part of their training.