Q) “Revival of the traditional Indian systems of medicine along with strengthening the modern medicine system will help in making the healthcare system more accessible and affordable.” Discuss.
Why this Question?
Issue of current importance.
Key demand of the Question
To explain the importance of revival of traditional medicine in India.
Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.
Start by giving a brief about traditional medicine in India.
In the first part, write about how the revival of traditional medicine in India is important in India.
In the next part, discuss the steps that should be taken by the government in this regard.
Conclude with a way forward.
In spite of incredible advances in modern science, technology and allopathic medicine , we are unable to provide quality healthcare to all. Traditional medicine is considered as a major healthcare provider around the globe particularly in rural and remote areas. Indian traditional medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani have a very rich history of their effectiveness. Mainstreaming of such medicine is important for the people. Evidence based incorporation of Indian traditional medicine in clinical practice will help to provide quality healthcare to all.
How will revival of traditional medicine help in the achievement of universal healthcare?
- In the 21st century, tremendous advances in the healthcare sector coexist with inequities in accessibility, availability and affordability of the healthcare facilities in many parts of India. Integration of Ayurvedic and other Indian traditional medicine in clinical practice will be helpful to promote the health of the people who are unable to access modern medicine properly.
- Variety, flexibility, easy availability, religious/social acceptance, relatively low side effects and cost are the key factors for the revival of traditional medicine.
- The revival also provides us the opportunity to integrate such medicine in primary healthcare to facilitate people's health.
- A study in the rural area of West Bengal shows that folk medicine plays a key role to prevent common diseases like small injuries, skin disease, fever, dehydration, diabetes, high BP, liver disease etc in better way.
- In rural areas, indigenous medicine plays a significant role in primary healthcare for prevention/management of common ailments.
- In India, the ratio of the doctor-patient is 1:1700 if we consider only allopathic doctors, the ratio will come to 1:800 if the AYUSH practitioners are added. This is much better than the WHO recommendation of 1:1000.
- At present, an acute shortage of allopathic doctors exists in India and in rural areas this problem is higher and with very less presence in remote areas. AYUSH practitioners however have a much wider presence in rural and remote areas.
- Traditional medicine, particularly herbal medicine, plays an important role in maintaining health in rural and remote areas. Inclusion of traditional herbal medicine in clinical practice will help to achieve the target ‘health for all’.
Steps that can be taken
- Strategizing for facilitating meaningful cross-learnings and collaborations between the modern and traditional systems on equal terms.
- Envisioning the integration of education, research, and practice of both systems at all levels.
- Including training of AYUSH practitioners in modern medicine through curriculum changes and vice versa.
- Building a strong traditional medicine research and scientific evidence corpus.
- Delineating the relative strengths, weaknesses, and role of each system.
- Negotiating the philosophical and conceptual divergences between systems.
- Standardising and regulating AYUSH practices and qualifications.
- Addressing the unique issues associated with research into AYUSH techniques.
- India can learn from the Chinese example of integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western medicine.
Indian traditional medicine like Ayurveda and others have sound scientific background of effectiveness and also acknowledged by recent research. Although efforts are needed to overcome barriers like irrational use, quality control and standardisation issues etc. Stick implementation of rules, monitoring and periodic revision of regulations are absolutely necessary to promote Indian traditional medicine. Overall, adequate knowledge about the system, high quality clinical trials, proper information about such drugs and their effectiveness among common people are required towards the promotion of such medicine.