The Ayurveda Medical Association of India (AMAI) has demanded adequate representation for ayurveda in the draft state health policy, charted out by the State Government.
In a letter submitted to the Health Minister, the association pointed out that one reason for the superior health indicators for the state was the use of ayurveda for health care and treatment since ancient times, irrespective of the individual socio-economic status.
“The draft state health policy only deals with modern medicine and does not give any idea about the role of other recognised medical systems, including ayurveda, which is an indigenous medical system of Kerala,” the AMAI said in the letter.
The AMAI argued that this goes against the directive of the National Health Policy of 1983, which envisages incorporating traditional systems to strengthen the healthcare delivery system in the country. One major drawback of the policy that AMAI pointed out was that the draft was totally mum on the ‘co-location’ of Ayush systems. The ‘co-location’ process, whereby Ayush facilities are co-located to Primary Health Centres (PHCs), Community Health Centres (CHCs) and the District Hospitals, is already on in most of the states, including neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
“Expense for logistics and appointment of non-medical staff can also be brought down by co-location. It will utilise manpower to the maximum with less expense as the health workers and ASHA workers can be utilised for all systems of medicine,” said AMAI general secretary Rejith Anand.
Another major demand was for the inclusion of ayurveda doctors in all national health campaigns conducted by the national agencies. Emphasising that ayurveda lifestyle was gaining importance under the circumstances of high incidence of lifestyle diseases, they said that the service of ASHA workers should be made available to all ISM and NRHM dispensaries.
The AMAI also called for drawing out a masterplan for the modernisation of all hospitals and dispensaries under the Indian system of medicine. The AMAI called for speciality clinics in each of these hospitals as well as increasing the payward facilities in the hospitals.
“There are people who are reluctant to follow the modern system of medicine. Some may have experienced side effects from modern medicine or some may have absolute faith in other systems. We earnestly hope that the government will not allow any one medical system to dominate and control the health sector but ensure that all good things from each of the systems are included in the policy,” Rejith Anand said.
“The draft policy should also include provisions to set up a comprehensive research centre for ayurveda,” the AMAI said.
“The proposed Ayurveda Research University can be developed as a centre for coordinating research activities with the authority to start and approve off campus centres,” said the letter submitted to the Health Minister.
The AMAI further demanded the State Government to take measures to address the shortage of medicinal plants in the state that is leading the ayurveda medicine manufacturing sector to a major crisis.
They demanded that the government should empower agencies such as the Medicinal Plant Board, Horticorps Mission and Care Keralam to take concrete steps to meet the raw material demand of the industry.
The copies of the letter were sent to the Principal Secretary, Department of Health and Family Welfare; Director of the Department of the Indian Systems of Medicine and chairman of the committee for drafting the health policy.