Upping the ante against the move to promote “mixopathy” and allow ayurvedic practitioners to perform surgeries, Indian Medical Association (IMA), the largest body of practitioners of modern medicine in the country, has launched a massive campaign to counter the move.
Called ‘Save Healthcare India Movement’, IMA has launched what it termed a “freedom struggle of modern medicine” to save it from the “forces of mixopathy”. The association has initiated a public awareness drive and an online mass petition movement to mobilise support for its cause. The move is in response to a decision made last year by Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), the statutory body that regulates the Indian medical systems, to allow postgraduate doctors of Shalya and Shalakya to perform 58 surgeries, including some belonging to general surgery, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, ENT and dental specialisations, after formal training.
As part of the campaign, all IMA members, specialty organisations, modern medicine students and women doctors across the country will educate people about the retrograde and unscientific mixing of different systems of healthcare. Besides, all modern medicine hospitals will embark on a drive to promote awareness about the importance of scientific and ethical surgical expertise. IMA, in a press statement, welcomed, appreciated and acknowledged the services of various systems of medicines. But the association pointed out that each system is based on different principles and philosophy. It warned that if the systems of different principles are mixed together, they will inter-react with each other and result in “catastrophic medicine”.
A retrograde move
“The government policy of mixopathy of all systems is unethical [and one] in which mutually unrelated principles and modus operandi are integrated unscientifically together as one system. IMA strongly opposes the proposal to make a single doctor practice all the systems together,” said Dr J A Jayalal, President, IMA. He warned that the government move will be disastrous for the public.
In its petition, IMA warned that mixopathy wass unscientific, illogical and most unsafe for the people of the country. “The healthcare [sector] of India will get [a] retrograde push because of mixopathy. It is absurd and impractical to mix different systems of healthcare which have extremely different principles. Mixopathy will create mediocre surgeons in the country at the cost of the common man,” IMA stated.
Appealing to the Prime Minister to immediately intervene in the issue and stop the blot on healthcare, IMA said: “Why [should] people in the country undergo surgery from untrained, inexperienced and unqualified surgeons? Quality, safety, ethicality and professionalism are being dumped by mixopathy.”
“The training given for students of MBBS and ayurvedic degrees is different. The ayurvedic system of medicine doesn’t have that much faculty, curriculum and colleges compared to MBBS. Ayurvedic postgraduates are given permission to perform only 58 surgeries. What would they do if the patient needs another surgery which is not in the list while undergoing the surgery? The people of rural areas will receive only substandard healthcare if mixopathy is promoted,” said Dr Jayesh M Lele, Secretary-General, IMA. He added that the government does not seem bothered about the life of the public even after the association took all its concerns to the government.
‘No training for ayur practitioners’
In protest against the government move, IMA has also announced a non-cooperation movement. According to the association, modern medicine surgeons and anesthesiologists shall not cooperate with AYUSH practitioners in training and performing surgery. “Our surgeons won’t train them on modern medicine procedures. Let them do their own procedures,” said Dr J A Jayalal.
In order to counter the government’s false claim of lack of doctors, IMA will submit a list of 1000 modern medicine doctors willing to serve in any remote areas of the country to the government. “We will soon submit a list with the names of the doctors who are willing to serve in the remote areas,” the IMA president said.
Dr Lele too feels that the present move of the government will dent the reputation of Indian surgeons across the world. “Today Indian surgeons are famous the world over. But with the government move, Indian surgeons will be looked at suspiciously in foreign countries. Nobody will come to India for surgeries and thereby, [this will] hit medical tourism very badly.”
To implement the move, CCIM (Central Council of Indian Medicine) brought out a notification facilitating special training in surgical procedures to ayurveda graduates, who will then be given the title of Master of Surgery. The association pointed out that a modern medicine undergraduate has to pass NEET to get admission and study for 3 years to get trained in all general surgical principles to get an MS degree. When both these categories of surgeons practice in the society, how will the people differentiate whether a doctor is a fully trained surgeon or trained only on 58 procedures, IMA asked.
IMA is the umbrella body of modern medical practitioners in the country representing over 3,30,000 doctors as its members through more than 1,750 local branches.