THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An IMA delegation met RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat at the organisation's headquarters in Nagpur in the first week of December to apprise him of the 'draconian' and `undemocratic' provisions of National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill.
Sources said the Sangh chief gave them a patient hearing but stopped short of giving any favourable response or assurance to allay apprehensions and concerns expressed by doctors. In the dialogue that followed, Sarsanghchalak emphasised more on the importance of Indian system of medicine and the need to encourage indigenous system.
The RSS chief's response, in a way, is in tune with the ruling party's current narrative of "nationalism" and over emphasis on indigenous system. Despite nationwide protests of doctors, the Prime Minister has not found time to meet them on such an important issue has a direct bearing on people's health. Sources said the Bill is being directly monitored and pushed by the Prime Minister.
Many say the ideological and nationalistic feelings are fine but it should not be by distorting nationalism. The move to give crash course to AYUSH doctors may suit them politically but it will result in dual registration which could wreak havoc with people's health.
IMA sources allege that many of the AYUSH institutions in western and northern parts of the country are run by politicians. Many of these institutions are on the verge of closure. The bridge course will help in attracting people towards these institutions.
This should also be seen in the context of the findings of National Health Survey 2014. Despite the Centre and state governments giving top priority to popularise ISM, only fewer than 10 per cent of the population, cutting across urban rural divide, preferred Ayush system.
Allowing Ayush doctors to practice modern medicine will be counterproductive. "They are going to destroy whatever Ayurveda system exists in the country. The government should allow ISM to maintain its separate identity without combining with modern medicine," said former national president of IMA Dr A Marthanda Pillai. More funds need to be pumped in for research to make AYUSH scientifically credible, he added. "Spend more money on AYUSH research. Instead of diluting Ayurveda, they should strengthen ISM in the fields where it is strong.
This false sense of nationalism also has a hidden agenda of erasing from the minds of people, whatever institutions existed in the past," said Dr R V Asokan, chairman of IMA Hospital Board of India.
He said many MPs have studied the Bill in detail and they too agree with the concerns raised by IMA. Asokan said N K Premachandran, A K Antony, K Kamraj of AIADMK, M K Raghavan and Ahmed Patel who briefed Rahul Gandhi, were very sympathetic towards their issues.
Doctors say while curative part is important, the government needs to lay more emphasis on socio-health parameters and social determinants. If emphasis is laid on checking malnutrition, clean drinking water, clean environment, proper sanitation, pollution free air, effective public health system and basic health education and awareness, things on the ground could change drastically.
More field staff is needed including ANMs, ASHA workers and public health staff who could organise house to house visits even in rural areas. Those given crash course in modern medicine will not limit themselves to giving medicines for fever, cold and diarrhoea. They will prescribe medicines for other ailments as well for which they are not trained....