Govt dependence on doctors practicing modern medicine keeping Indian medicine practitioners despite shortfall
Sonal Matharu | April 16, 2010
Health secretary of the Ayush department S Jalaja has said that the doctors practicing Indian medicine are willing to work in the rural areas and their expertise should be tapped in areas where doctors practicing modern medicines do not reach.
“Most of the ayurvedic doctors are already working in 40 percent of primary health centres where doctors practicing modern medicine are not serving. We want the traditional medicine doctors to be counted under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) when we talk of manpower shortage of healthcare providers in the rural areas,” she said.
The Ayush department of the health ministry has taken an opportunity to bring this proposal to the bench in the High Court where a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is filed questioning the neglect of rural healthcare by the government.
To meet the shortfall of healthcare providers in rural areas, a three-and-a –half-year course, called bachelor in rural healthcare, is proposed by the health ministry. The health ministry has worked closely with the Medical Council of India (MCI) to design this course as a response to the PIL. Under this, they propose setting up medical colleges in all the 300 district hospitals in the country. Students with science in high school would be allowed to enroll for the course and after completion they would have to serve in the same district.
However, the High Court has thrice rejected the government’s proposed course and neither it is yet willing to consider the proposals made by the Ayush department.
Meanwhile, MCI chairman, Ketan Desai said, “This cadre of new doctors will be registered under separate registry with the State Medical Councils. No one other than MBBS holders can be enrolled under the Indian Medical Register (IMR).”
Jalaja said that doctors practicing Indian medicine can provide primary treatment and that the government should not rely only on the doctors practicing modern medicine to deliver healthcare in rural areas.
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