This past week the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), the regulatory body under Ministry of Ayush has brought out a notification allowing postgraduate students in Ayurveda undergoing 'Shalya' (general surgery) and 'Shalakya' (dealing with eye, ear, nose, throat, head, neck and dentistry) to perform surgeries a total of 58 surgical procedures.
The Ayush ministry clarified that 'Shalya' and 'Shalakya' are independent departments in Ayurveda colleges, which are already performing such surgical procedures. The notification was to streamline some of the provisions of the regulations concerning post graduate Ayurveda education by adding clarity and definition to the same.
The decision once again sparked outrage from allopathy or modern medicine practitioners. They took objection to the use of modern terminology in the CCIM notification and alleged that the government is mixing two different streams of medicines.
Indian Medical Association, the body that represents allopathy doctors was critical about the notification.
"IMA unequivocally condemns uncivil ways of the Central Council of Indian Medicine to arrogate itself to vivisect modern medicine and empower its practitioners with undeserving areas of practice," the body said in statement.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
"IMA has no objections to the list of vernacular terms that they have coined. They have no right to the technical terms, techniques and procedures of modern medicine," it added.
IMA also alleged that the CCIM has the "dubious reputation of prescribing modern medicine text books to its students."
The latest, isn't the first case of friction between the government and IMA. Earlier too IMA has questioned the scientific basis of the government's COVID-19 clinical management protocol based on Ayurveda and Yoga for the prevention as well as treatment of asymptomatic and mild patients of COVID-19.
It's not surprising, the BJP government at the Centre is a strong proponent of alternate medicines such Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH). To be sure, there is nothing wrong in AYUSH complementing modern medicine, but the problem comes when there is an attempt to mix two different systems of medicine.
There are also medico-legal issues involved in this. For instance a doctor specialising in dental surgery, isn't supposed to operate on bones as per modern medicine, then why is it an exception in Ayurveda.
AYUSH ministry clarified the use of modern scientific terminology is to facilitate effective communication and correspondence among the different stake-holders and said the question of “mixing” of Ayurveda with Conventional (Modern) Medicine does not arise here as CCIM is deeply committed to maintaining the authenticity of Indian systems of medicine, and is against any such “mixing".Let's hope AYUSH ministry maintains that stand.