Amid the hullabaloo over the four-year DU course, a Government report prepared by Shailaja Chandra, former health secretary (Ayush) has recommended a 10-year MBBS/MD/PhD in integrative medicine as a long-term measure to boost alternate medical system in the country.
The essentials of all major healthcare systems can be incorporated, says the extensive report “Status of Indian Medicine and Folk Healing in India” prepared by Shailaja Chandra, former health secretary, Ayush Department in the Health Ministry.
The report extensively focus on the current status as well as gaps that need to be bridged with the aim of improving public awareness and access to identified health benefits that each system offers.
The recommendations also include strengthening postgraduate education both quantitatively and qualitatively and to increase a requirement for rigorous and independent research the quality of which needs to be judged by publications in reputed journals.
“Instead of leaving the students to find their own feet, it would be better to expose them in the very first year to the work of good practitioners so that they understand how the public is accessing ASU medicine and for what conditions.”
“It would be useful to send the students to visit reputed ASU teaching institutions and private clinics so that they observe actual treatment in progress,” the report says.
The four-year degree course introduced by Delhi University from the new academic session beginning July to replace the existing three-year BA/BSc (General/Hons) course has sparked a major controversy with the DU faculty splitting into two factions.
The report recognises that both under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and by virtue of special orders issued by certain State Governments, ASU practitioners are permitted to prescribe modern medicine; but no one has spelt out whether that includes prescription of all Scheduled drugs and other interventions.
“Since there is no domain expertise on the functional requirements of Ayush available with the NRHM managers there is a recommendation to use the extensive human resource capacity available in the existing non-NRHM facilities to provide oversight for the NRHM related Ayush work,” the report says.
Likewise, the need for supervision of Ayush drug supplies which were found to be universally in short supply has been dwelt upon. The near absence of interaction between modern medicine and AYUSH doctors has been described bringing out what is essentially needed if the patient’s welfare is to be kept uppermost in view.
Referring to a recent case of an injured and incapacitated NSG commando who was paralyzed and received
Ayurvedic treatment but failed to get reimbursement for the expenses incurred, the report has stressed on the need for the Department of Ayush to convince all ministries to reimburse medical expenses on AYUSH treatment of employees.