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‘95% of ICUs are run by Ayush doctors, IMA’s opposition is hypocrisy’ | India News


A government notification listing the surgeries Ayurvedic physicians can perform has alarmed allopaths and many in the public. The president of Ayurveda’s regulatory body, the Central Council of Medicine of India (CCIM), Vaid Jayant Deopujari, tells Rema Nagarajan that there is nothing new about Ayurvedic doctors performing surgery and speaks of the hypocrisy of a using Ayush doctors but pretending not to allow it.
If all the surgeries mentioned in the new notice were allowed before, why this notice?
The first regulation for postgraduate in Ayurveda was in 1979. However, this particular notification is a clarification of the 2016 postgraduate regulation for the Indian medical system. It is a restriction, a list of the type of procedures allowed. Almost all of the mentioned surgeries are already in practice.
Sushruta talks about cataract removal, but what about phacoemulsification or intraocular lens implantation?
Sushruta mentions cataract removal but there were no lenses to put on at the time. Now that lenses are available, why should Ayurvedic surgeons not implant them? Phacoemulsification is simply about buying a machine and getting trained to use it. We are allowed to incorporate advances in modern technology and advances in science to complement the Indian system of medicine. This is mentioned in the new law passed, the Indian Medical System National Commission Act of 2020. It was also mentioned in the Act of 1970, showing that this vision was clearly there from the beginning.
What if there are any complications during surgery?
There are SOPs for this type of situation all over the world. They are not part of regulations but of practice. Such complications could occur not only in an Ayurvedic university, but also in smaller hospitals or a small nursing home. Just as patients are transferred from these locations to other hospitals, we also have provisions to transfer the patient immediately.
How can proper training of such surgeons be ensured when hundreds of private Ayurvedic universities are gaining approval despite inspection reports finding them to be insufficiently equipped and understaffed?
They are very strictly regulated. We deny permission if they do not meet the minimum standard requirements. Last year, we denied permission to 106 universities for undergraduate courses. All universities have modern doctors including surgeons, pathologists, anesthetists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, obstetricians and gynecologists to train Ayurvedic doctors. The surgeries happen every day at these universities.
Why are Ayush universities’ evaluation reports not available in the public domain?
In the 1970 Act there is a clause that says these reports are confidential. I agree that they should be available in the public domain. But for that you have to change the law.
Why do Ayurvedic doctors use the same terms for their titles as modern medicine? Won’t this cause confusion?
It is a parliamentary act that made the BAMS degree and allowed them to use the prefix Dr. Those who complete the five and a half year course of BAMS are called Ayurveda acharyas in Ayurveda. The Ayurvedic equivalent of MD’s graduate degree is called Ayurved Vachaspati and that of MS is called Ayurved Dhanwantri. That is what is also written on their certificates. The use of MD and MS is part of a central regulation. Personally, I think we should stick to the use of Ayurvedic terms. I use Vaid and not Dr before my name on my letterhead, whiteboard, etc. I have a PhD and I can write Dr if I want. But this is a personal choice.
Why would Ayurveda want its practitioners to practice allopathy through a bridging course?
Health depends on the state government. Some state governments have given Ayurvedic doctors permission to perform allopathic practices because they were unable to get MBBS doctors to become medical officers. For example, Navi Mumbai corporation has 365 Ayush doctors on duty for Covid and not a single MBBS doctor and these Ayush doctors have been administering allopathic medications. Who gave permission for that? It is the state governments that are invading the purity of Ayurveda because they cannot get enough MBBS people. This is the hypocrisy of the government.
What do you say to allopathic doctors who protest against the mixing of different systems of medicine?
The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) wrote to allopathic hospitals that they would not recognize Ayush physicians who work in these hospitals. We welcome this. But the fact is that 95% of ICUs are served by ayush practitioners, not just in Maharashtra or Gujarat, but across the country. It is the allopathy doctors who teach them everything about how to manage the ICU, insert a central line, administer IV, etc. Why do they do it? So that they earn money. Then these doctors sit in the Indian Medical Association and oppose the use of ayush doctors. It’s just hypocrisy.
If Ayush doctors are working in allopathic hospitals, should their prefix or title be changed from Dr. to Ayurvedic so that patients are aware?
It won’t make any difference. There is a great public demand for Ayurvedic practitioners and it is increasing. Some things are decided by society. When the engineering schools became too many, they were left empty. Neither the government nor any university could do anything about it. The society decided that they wanted to put their children only in reputable institutes. The government decided that they cannot allow ayush to treat Covid. But society, my patients ask for drugs to increase their immunity against Covid. The number of stores selling Ayurvedic preparations is constantly increasing. They will open only if there is a market, a demand. The social will decides many things.

Times of India