AYUSH-IASToppers
Editorial Notes

[Editorial Notes] Fusing traditional medicine with the modern

Taking cues from the Chinese experience, India can integrate the education, research and practice of both systems.
By IASToppers
November 18, 2019

Contents

  • Context
  • Efforts made towards promoting AYUSH
  • Problems created while integrating AYUSH with Modern Medicine
  • Suggested solution
  • Significance of AYUSH
  • Conclusion

Fusing traditional medicine with the modern

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Context

In today’s time, revival and integration of the Indian systems of medicine, which comprises two types of medicines: Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) and Modern Medicine have to be done in order to provide health benefits to the maximum people.

(AYUSH)

In India, AYUSH System of medicines has assumed great significance with the emergence of lifestyle related diseases. However, it is not effectively utilizing by India. The Western medicine system that is based on biomedical concepts, commonly known as allopathy, got assimilated into the Indian medical practice. Now, India has to spell good times for the neglected alternative medicine sectors such as Ayurveda to integrate it with the modern medicine system in India.

Efforts made towards promoting AYUSH

Recently Indian government have been announced a number of initiatives to promote AYUSH such as,

(AYUSH)-1

  • Creating AYUSH wings in defence and railway hospitals.
  • Giving soft loans and subsidies for the establishment of private AYUSH hospitals and clinics
  • Building institutes of excellence in teaching and research in AYUSH.
  • Also, 12,500 dedicated AYUSH health and wellness centres are planned to be set up under the Ayushman Bharat mission.

Problems created while integrating AYUSH with Modern Medicine

The main contentious issue while integrating AYUSH into the health-care system was the low availability of AYUSH facilities. However, while increasing such facilities, AYUSH’s relationship with modern medicine has been fraught with multiple issues like-

AYUSH-1

  • Quackery by AYUSH practitioners
  • Ridicule of AYUSH treatments and procedures
  • Mindless cosmeticisation
  • Export promotion of AYUSH products

Hence, merely expanding AYUSH facilities will only expand the present list of above problems.

Other problems while integrating AYUSH with Modern Medicine

  • In keeping with the recommendations of the Chopra Committee (1948), initial steps were taken to integrate the teaching of traditional and modern systems of medicines. However, that proposals were later scrapped.
  • AYUSH community also feared a loss of identity following such integration with modern medicine. On the other hand, allopathic lobby (modern medicine) alleged that, after such integration, standards of modern medical care will be diluted.

Suggested solution

  • True integration of AYUSH and Modern medicine requires a concerted strategy for facilitating meaningful cross-learning between the modern and traditional systems on equal terms.
  • An integrated framework fusing the AYUSH and Modern medicine should be created while still permitting some autonomy for each. Accordingly, a medium- and long-term plan for integration should be developed expeditiously.
  • The Chinese were successful at integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western medicine. India can copy that model by making integration of education, research, and practice of AYUSH and Modern medicine at all levels. This can include training of AYUSH practitioners in modern medicine through curriculum changes and vice versa.

However, above effort requires:

  • Building a strong traditional medicine evidence corpus
  • Delineating the relative strengths, weaknesses and role of each system
  • Negotiating the philosophical and conceptual divergences between systems
  • Standardizing and regulating AYUSH practices and qualifications
  • Addressing the unique issues associated with research into AYUSH techniques.

Significance of AYUSH

AYUSH

  • AYUSH has the vast potential to contribute the universal health-care.
  • AYUSH’s traditional drug therapies play an important role in curing disease and maintaining health.
  • These drugs comprise of natural molecules which are better absorbed and utilized in the human body and produce effect without adverse drug reaction in comparison to the synthetic molecules.
  • Yoga has now become the icon of global health and many countries have started integrating it in their health care delivery system.

Conclusion

There is much scientific evidence through which it can be validated that no single system of medicine can cater the health care needs effectively. As a 21st century is termed as the “Century for Natural Drug Molecules”, a medium- and long-term plan for seamless integration should be developed expeditiously in view of the massive drive for achieving universal health care in India.

 

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