Achieve Medical Reform With AYUSH: The government of India has been toying with several ideas/proposals to reform the health care sector especially the health care delivery system in rural India. India is facing an acute shortage of doctors.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had brought a proposal to bring AYUSH vaidyas to the mainstream of health care service through a bridge course and after which they can provide allopathic treatment. This proposal was resisted greatly and as a result, the proposal was withdrawn.
The question is why we should not look for some short-cuts to address the shortage of health care provider base when we face an acute shortage of doctor.The question is not about the intent or spirit of the government or the short-cut approach adopted by the Government. What people feared greatly was about the possibility of misuse by a large number of AYUSH vaidyas in private practice in rural India.
Further such short-cuts would encourage the back door entry of AYUSH vaidyas to mainstream health care system as MBBS doctor. Such a situation also would open the door for many politicians to start colleges to produce AYUSH graduates as one can easily obtain AYUSH degree and then can practice allopathic medicine.
All the above are only possibilities and probabilities. All the above probabilities and possibilities have evolved only from the ground reality that many AYUSH vaidyas in private practice are already engaged in rampant cross pathy without any knowledge and putting the lives of poor and innocent people in rural India at risk.But this situation or fear should not deter the Government to look for some short-cuts to solve the crisis at least for the time being until we have sufficient MBBS doctors.
Before facilitating the AYUSH vaidyas to undergo bridge course to become practitioners of allopathic medicine, Government must clearly define the purpose and scope of bridge course for AYUSH vaidyas.The AYUSH vaidyas must be given two distinct choices such as either they should stick to own system and practice exclusively Ayurveda or Siddha etc., and need not opts bridge course.
The other being those who wants to opt bridge course should be permitted only to practice the allopathic medicines based on the scope and curriculum of bridge course and they must stick to such practice and should not be allowed to practice own system.If the AYUSH graduates who have completed bridge course are allowed to practice both own system and allopathy certainly such dual citizenship would spread havoc to our health care system.
All those AYUSH vaidyas who have competed for bridge course and wants to settle in private practice must be mandated to submit a quarterly report on details of the patients seen, list of allopathic drugs prescribed, how the diagnosis was made etc. so that all such vaidyas are not allowed to trespass the Lakshman Rekha.
Further, those AYUSH vaidyas who have complete bridge course and wants to settle in private practice must be mandated to display their original qualification in the respective local language with a clear mention on ‘limited permission to practice allopathic system’.
The private clinics, hospitals etc., must be encouraged to appoint the AYUSH vaidyas who have completed bridge course as duty doctor. The cost of hiring the AYUSH vaidya would be half of the cost of MBBS doctors so this way the private hospitals can find some means to reduce the treatment cost for people.
Further in all village level and district level hospitals owned by the Government, the AYUSH vaidyas who have completed bridge should be appointed. The proportion MBBS doctors in all these PHC’ CHC’s etc., can be reduced to 1:15 ratio where one MBBS doctor is sufficient for 15 bridge course trained AYUSH vaidyas. This way in all the remote villages, in-accessible areas etc., we can create a sufficient number of trained AYUSH vaidyas to treat primary diseases.
Once the separation is defined between those who want to practice exclusively AYUSH and those who want to migrate to allopathic practice after bridge course and are willing to follow all rules apply to their practice and are willing to forgo AYUSH practice, we can really improve our health care system and also the service of AYUSH vaidyas can be enhanced.Such demarcation also would reveal how many vaidyas after graduation are in a real sense wants to practice own system and such information will help the government to reframe the policy of AYUSH in future.
Opting short-cuts is not wrong but it must be done with clear definition and strictures.
AYUSH vaidyas should be given clear choice as to whether they would like to continue in own system or would like to migrate to allopathy as health care provider at the primary level. The permission to practice both the systems should not be given to vaidyas after bridge course as such permission would not only erode AYUSH but also would cause complications in our health care delivery system.